Tuesday 17 October 2017

Ceremonies for suicide victims

A large group of marchers, including families who have recently lost loved ones to suicide, held up placards warning that some voluntary helplines are struggling to provide a service.
A large group of marchers, including families who have recently lost loved ones to suicide, held up placards warning that some voluntary helplines are struggling to provide a service.

The lives of hundreds of people who have died by suicide have been honoured at memorial services nationwide.

Candles were lit and a minute's silence held by family members and friends at s ix Celebration of Light ceremonies.

Paul Kelly of Console, which organised the events, said those left behind were given a gentle and understanding environment to celebrate the lives of their loved ones.

"The loss of a loved one is always devastating, but when that loss is through suicide it can be so much harder for the families and friends left behind," said. Mr Kelly, who founded Console when his sister Sharon took her life at the age of 21.

"Many people find Christmas an especially difficult time.

"People throughout Ireland find that these special services give families and friends the opportunity to come together in solidarity to honour the lives of their loved ones - with the lighting of candles showing that their memory is very much alive.

"For this reason, the Celebration of Light has become the most important event in Console's annual calendar."

Over 500 people lost their lives to suicide in Ireland last year, but campaigners believe the real figure is much higher if adding the number of undetermined deaths.

Console offers counselling and a 24-hour helpline support to people in crisis and those bereaved by suicide on freephone 1800 201 890.

Its ceremonies of song, music, poetry and reflection took place in Maynooth, Galway, Limerick, Wexford, Tipperary and Mayo.

A further Celebration of Light service will take place in Cork next Sunday at 4pm.

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