Over 200,000 dawn walkers take part in 'Darkness into Light' in venues across Ireland and worldwide
Over 200,000 people have taken part in the annual 'Darkness into Light' walks and runs across the country and worldwide.
The symbolic 5km walk promotes suicide prevention and looks to tackle the stigma that leads people to the doors of Pieta House centres.
Now in its 10th year, the charity walk took place in 180 venues across Ireland and worldwide. An estimated 200,000 people took part.
Together participants around the world walked over one million kilometers in a march against suicide, self-harm and the stigma associated with mental health.
Events took place across Ireland at 4.15am, as thousands walked a 5km route while the sun came up. Funds raised from the walk will go towards Pieta House's counselling services.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar was one of the 15,000 dawn walkers who watched the sun rise in Dublin's Phoenix Park this morning. Dublin Bus organised a free early-morning shuttle service at Parkgate Street from 2am until 7am.
In Galway, yoga sessions kicked off the event at Salthill with an estimated 10,000 people taking part in the coastal walk.
Dawn walks also took place in Hong Kong; Wellington, New Zealand; Warsaw, Poland and Reykjavik, Iceland with the help of Irish people living abroad.
An early start in Warsaw to walk together from #DarknessIntoLight. Well done to all involved in making Poland’s first DIL such a success - raising money and awareness for a very important cause @PietaHouse #DIL2018 #hope pic.twitter.com/eBZGctW9Rr— Irish Embassy Warsaw (@IrlEmbWarsaw) May 12, 2018
Last year Darkness Into Light raised €4.5million - one-third of Pieta House's annual income
Suicide is a leading cause of death, particularly in young people, both in Ireland and worldwide. Some 450 people took their own lives in 2016. The HSE estimated that there are about 12,000 attempted suicides each year in Ireland
Pieta House was founded in Lucan, Co Dublin, in 2006 and now has services right across Ireland. Pieta offers free counselling to those suffering from suicidal ideation, those who have been bereaved by suicide and people who are engaging in self-harm. In 2016 alone, almost 6,000 people came through their doors.
Pieta House offer a suicide bereavement liaison service and the freecall 24/7 suicide helpline 1800 247 247.
We're just a *little* jealous of the dramatic scenery #DIL2018 participants in Iceland will enjoy this morning... As the sun starts to come up here in Ireland, Iceland starts walking! pic.twitter.com/YSyJdvMAvJ— Pieta House (@PietaHouse) May 12, 2018
What a wonderful morning to wake up and walk for Darkness into Light Hannahstown @PietaHouse. There was a fantastic response from the West Belfast community, we are proud to be part of this special event. Photos courtesy of @AMMGMedia #DIL2018 pic.twitter.com/3d52GS7KSi— Lámh Dhearg CLG (@lamhdheargclg) May 12, 2018
.@defenceforces proud of it’s Personnel Support Services and proud of all it’s soldiers, sailors & aircrew who with their families & friends walked, ran and wheeled from Darkness into Light in aid of @PietaHouse #DIL2018 pic.twitter.com/OrosBCIbMy pic.twitter.com/e5eFQ4Ccb7— DF Chief of Staff (@DF_COS) May 12, 2018
Le chéile ag Fáinne Geal an Lae @dilhk2018 Thanks to the 600+ Friends who joined the second annual HK Darkness into Light walk. GRMA - thanks to the Organisers & our amazing Volunteers. pic.twitter.com/V7aZOs3y2Z— Ireland in Hong Kong (@IrelandinHK) May 11, 2018