Hundreds of people joined a remembrance walk after confirmation by gardai that there were at least five suicides in Galway in the space of just a few days.
Cork hurler Conor Cusack, who has made no secret of his own battle with depression, spoke at the Walk of Life event in Galway city organised by Niall McDonagh and his mother Mary.
Their family is among thousands across the country who have experienced the tragedy of suicide – with the five deaths in Galway coming the previous weekend.
"It is so shocking and tragic for anyone touched by it and after the numbers in Galway – if that is not an epidemic, I don't know what is," said Niall.
Ireland has exceptionally high rates of suicide among young people, with 600 deaths of people under the age of 25 recorded in Ireland in 2012.
"We need to change the way society looks at suicide," said Supt Gerry Roche, one of the founders of suicide prevention and support group Galway East Life Support.
"It is a huge problem. Here in the West it is probably the single biggest issue."