Friday 23 February 2018

Darkness into Light: Woman opens up about stigma after her father's suicide

Pieta House's Cindy O'Connor has spoke candidly about her father's suicide
Pieta House's Cindy O'Connor has spoke candidly about her father's suicide

Kathy Armstrong

A woman has opened up about the stigma she felt after her father's suicide, saying: "I never understood why we had to be so ashamed".

Cindy O'Connor, who is the Chief Clinical Office for suicide and self-harm prevention organisation Pieta House, lost her father when she was just a teenager.

She recalled one particularly distressing incident shortly after his death when someone made a callous remark about his suicide in front of a group of friends.

Ms O'Connor said: "I thought, 'Oh my God... Please don't...' I just wanted to die right there. I didn't know what to do.

"So I just said, 'No, he didn't.' And I ran back home. My father had died by suicide a couple of months before.

"I still remember how hard it was to deal with his loss, for the whole family.

"But it was even harder to deal with the shame that came with the fact that he that had taken his own life.

"My mother used to say that maybe it's better not to tell people what actually happened. That they may think we're a bit odd or something.

"I never understood why we had to be so ashamed if it wasn't at all our fault."

Read More: Billy Keane: They’ll never walk alone - why Ireland is no longer afraid to talk about suicide

Pieta House’s Darkness Into Light event in the Pheonix Park last year. Photo: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland
Pieta House’s Darkness Into Light event in the Pheonix Park last year. Photo: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

Ms O'Connor was speaking to Humans of Dublin ahead of Darkness Into Light, an international fundraising and awareness event which will take place tomorrow morning.

She said that she is glad her work with Pieta House can help people who are in distress.

She said: "Today, I know talking about it is the best thing you can do, and I'm very proud to work somewhere, where we can take the extra weight off the already sore shoulders."

For more information please see www.pieta.ie

Online Editors

Promoted Links

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News