IRISH women are being urged to start the conversation on suicide by supporting Console's national awareness campaign.
Sabina Higgins, wife of President Michael D Higgins, joined with the Taoiseach's wife Fionnuala Kenny to launch the Cosy Up To Console campaign in Swinford, Co Mayo, yesterday.
"Life is our most precious possession and privilege and death our greatest fear and dread. Console's work shines a light of hope for those who are struggling with darkness and sadness," said Mrs Higgins.
Console is asking mothers, grandmothers, sisters and friends to get the nation talking about issues surrounding suicide. The campaign is the brainchild of psychotherapist Anne Lynch, manager of the Console Centre in Swinford.
"We have got to get people talking about suicide and what can be done to help those who may be in crisis, a chat over a cuppa is a good way to start that conversation," said Ms Lynch, who decided to combine knitting sessions with tea and talks.
"We are asking people across the country to get chatting and knitting tea cosies over the next few months. The plan is to sell Console tea cosies as gifts for Christmas. Not only will they raise funds for the organisation, they will also raise awareness as they will get people talking," said Ms Lynch.
Fionnuala Kenny added her voice to the call, saying: "I am very happy to support this initiative by Console who do fantastic work in the area of suicide prevention and support for people in distress".
The charity offers counselling services and 24-hour helpline support to people in crisis or affected by suicide.
Speaking about the campaign, Console CEO Paul Kelly added: "Sadly suicide has touched the lives of too many of our people but hope and help are always available at Console and who better to make sure that message is heard in homes and workplaces around the country than the women of Ireland?"
Console can be reached on freephone 1800 247 247 and a list of its resources can be found on www.console.ie.