Strength in numbers as 35,000 people across Ireland shine a light on darkness of suicide

Incredible turnout at 20 locations for Pieta House’s fifth annual Darkness into Light walk with Electric Ireland

Suicide charity Pieta House’s annual Darkness into Light fundraising event with Electric Ireland got underway at 4am on Saturday morning as an estimated 35,000 people turned out for dawn walks at 20 locations around the country in an incredible show of support for suicide prevention. With twice as many participants as last year, the feeling was one of hope and new beginnings as supporters walked and ran the 5km route in solidarity with those who had lost loved ones to suicide.

This year’s Darkness into Light event follows the release of new 2012 figures from Pieta House which show a 42% increase in the number of people seeking their help for suicidal ideation and self-harming behaviour. The charity was contacted by 2,736 clients in 2012, up from 1,923 in 2011.

“I’m absolutely overwhelmed by the huge numbers that turned out this morning all over the country,” said Joan Freeman, founder and CEO of Pieta House. “Taking part in Darkness into Light is a really special experience and we see so many of the same people coming back to do it year after year. There’s a massive groundswell of support for suicide prevention in this country at the moment and I’m very keen to build on this. We’re here today to show people that there is hope and I’m determined that Pieta House will play a leading role in reducing the suicide rate in Ireland,” she said.

Joan Freeman led out the flagship walk in the Phoenix Park, Dublin while Niall Quinn, Bláthnaid Ní Chofaigh, Micheál Ó Muircheartaigh, Sinead Desmond, the Dublin football team and members of the Munster rugby squad were among the many well-known faces who took part in the various walks around the country.

Speaking at the Phoenix Part event, Brid Horan, Deputy Chief Executive of ESB said: “Electric Ireland is delighted to sponsor Darkness into Light.  There has been a terrific response from our customers, staff and the public. This has been an emotional and memorable journey for everyone involved. In fact, over 25% of Electric Ireland’s staff have taken part in the event this morning.”

With six suicide crisis centres throughout the country and three more due to open later this year, Pieta House’s annual running costs now stand at €2.5 million and more funds are constantly required. With more than 80% of the organisation’s income coming from public donations, the success of fundraisers like Darkness into Light is essential to ensure that its professional counselling service can continue to be available free of charge to those in crisis.

About Pieta House

Pieta House is a suicide and self-harm crisis centre founded by psychologist Joan Freeman. It first opened its doors in Lucan, Co. Dublin in January 2006, and there are now four Pieta House centres throughout Dublin, one in Limerick and one in Roscrea. Three more new centres will open in this year in Tuam, Cork and Castleisland.

Pieta House provides a professional, face-to-face, free of charge therapeutic service for people in the acute stages of distress. The unique clinically-based model developed by Pieta House is used across its five centres. Pieta House’s primary aim is to reduce suicide by helping people get through that critical phase when suicide becomes a plan rather than just an idea. To date, over 8,000 people have been helped by Pieta House.

Pieta House’s vision is that no-one in Ireland should be more than 100 kilometres from a Pieta House centre where they can avail of the clinical services at that time of crisis. For more information, log on to

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