100,000 take part in Darkness into Light walk
More than 100,000 people across the world have taken part in the annual Pieta House Darkness into Light mental health awareness event.
In 80 locations in Ireland and as far a field as New York, Toronto and Sydney, tens of thousands of people set out at 4:15 am to help raise funds for the suicide prevention charity.
As dawn broke, these walkers and runners crossed a 5km line in memory of those that have died by suicide and to raise awareness of depression.
Now in its seventh year, the Darkness into Light event has become the main fundraiser for Pieta House – which aims to help those struggling with self-harming and dealing with suicidal distress.
Organisers for this year’s event said its turnout was the highest so far, with over 100,000 participating.
Some 12,000 early risers descended on Phoenix Park this morning to take part, while an estimated 4,000 people walked in Melbourne, Sydney and Perth, which were among the first cities to kick the morning off.
Another 1,500 people walked in London, Manchester and Glasgow, and 1,700 are expected to turn up to support Pieta House in the final walks of the day in New York, Toronto and Chicago.
In celebration of the theme ‘connecting’ for this year’s Darkness into Light walk, Dublin Bus provided a free shuttle service to the flagship walk in Phoenix Park.
Elsewhere around Ireland, local businesses showed their support to the thousands of others taking part in local events by opening early and providing walkers with free tea, coffee, and water.
Pieta House, which has ten centres in Ireland, is set to open its first overseas centre in Queens, New York this summer as it begins to reach out to members of the Irish diaspora who may be in need of support.