NATIONAL suicide prevention and bereavement charity, Console, is to open a centre in Kerry in direct response to the unprecedented number of suicides experienced in the county in the past number of years.
The national charity, which already has centre in Dublin, Cork, Wexford, Limerick and Galway, will base its centre at the McAuley Home, in Balloonagh, Tralee, with initial services due to be up and running by the New Year.
Ciaran Austin of Console explained that the charity will initially be offering free psychotherapy and counselling services to those affected by suicide, as well as open and closed therapeutic group sessions with fully qualified professionals.
Long term, Console is hoping that the Tralee centre will function as a suicide prevention counselling service and resource centre, facilitating a broad range of community-based activities raising awareness of the important issues connected to suicide.
The ambitious Kerry project will be three to four years in the making, Mr Austin explained, and Kerry's Oireachtas members have already promised their full support. However, stakeholders and businesses who may be aware of the devastation that suicide can cause are being asked to do what they can to make this badly-needed centre a reality, he said.
"Thanks to the wonderful support of the Sisters of Mercy in Kerry, the new Console Centre will be based at the McAuley Home but we need help to get the doors open" Mr Austin said. "All Console services are free and highly accessible to those in need, but to open and maintain the centre, Console will need some financial support from businesses and agencies across the county.
"We are only too aware of the high incidence of suicide in Kerry in recent times and are committed to responding in a comprehensive and professional way to help people who have lost loved ones and to prevent further tragedy."