Suicide charity SOSAD appeals for counsellors
SOSAD has issued an urgent appeal for volunteers after a surge in demand from people seeking support over the summer months.
The Louth charity, which provides crisis support for people struggling with the issue of suicide, has offices in both Drogheda and Dundalk.
Founder Peter Moroney explains that the charity is currently facing a real shortage of counsellors.
'Every year we would normally notice a slight drop-off in demand for service around April or May, and we wouldn't be as busy throughout the summer months.
But this year there has been a continued demand over the last few months, to such an extent that we have very few free counselling hours available this week or next.'
The shortage is particularly challenging for the charity which works to ensure counselling is available for people in need within a week of an assessment.
'There are two reasons why we can see that it continues to be busy throughout what is normally a quieter time.
Firstly the stigma surrounding suicide seems to have shifted, even just a little, which we really do welcome. This has created more awareness around the issue, and people are more likely to seek help,' said Peter.
'Secondly I think SoSad's reputation has grown to an extent where we are one of the organisations where referrals are made from places such as hospitals and doctor's surgeries.'
All of these developments are welcome, added Peter, but the surge in demand means it is in real need of accredited counsellors.
'We are appealing to anyone who has a passion for helping people, and who is either accredited or pre-accredited, to volunteer a number of hours a week with SOSAD. We will provide a full induction and training programme.'
He explained that there are currently 400 volunteers working across the services in Drogheda and Dundalk.
SOSAD was founded in Drogheda in 2007 by Peter Moroney and his family, following the loss of their son Simon to suicide.
The charity aims not only to provide support to those affected by suicide, but also to remove the stigma surrounding suicide.