7,500 cyclists saddle up against suicide
A major suicide awareness campaign has trebled in size this year with an estimated 7,500 people expected to cycle either part or all of the gruelling two-week trek.
The 2014 Cycle Against Suicide was officially launched at RTE studios yesterday and will cover an average of 100km daily or a total of 1,400km up until Sunday, May 11.
The initiative's aim is not to raise money but to host 28 information events in schools, colleges and universities around the country.
Founder Jim Breen said there was a "real appetite" from people who wanted to do something practical to raise awareness about suicide.
The entrepreneur, who first spoke about his battle with depression on RTE's 'Secret Millionaire' two years ago, said: "Cycle Against Suicide is very much inclusive in this way. It encourages people to help others and to get help themselves."
The cyclists first travelled to Naas, Co Kildare, and then on to Co Carlow yesterday evening. Today they cycle through Co Kilkenny and Co Waterford, before visiting Co Cork, Co Kerry, Co Limerick and Co Galway later this week.
Next week, the cyclists will travel to Co Sligo and Co Donegal before heading north to Co Derry. They will finish by returning to Co Dublin via Co Louth.
A Europe-wide report from the European Child Safety Alliance earlier this year found that Ireland has the highest rate of suicide in young females in Europe with the second highest rate of suicide in young males.
There were more than 600 deaths linked to suicide in 2012.