Monday 17 June 2019

Darkness Into Light: Here’s how signing up can make a real difference to people’s lives

Darkness Into Light started out with just 400 people walking through Dublin’s Phoenix Park in 2009 but over 200,000 people gathered in the early hours of the morning to do the 5km walk in 2018.

Proudly supported by Electric Ireland, it’s the flagship fundraiser for Pieta House and walks will take place at 168 locations across the country at 4.15am on Saturday, May 11. Suicide is something that affects families and communities throughout Ireland so it’s fitting that there are so many events across Ireland on the day.

Electric Ireland has sponsored Darkness Into Light since 2013 and its “The Power of Hope” campaign is all about bringing hope to customers, staff and communities who have been affected by suicide, while helping its partner Pieta House raise much-needed funds. Starting the 5km walk in the darkness and finishing it in the first light of dawn is symbolic of the campaign’s message of hope.

Darkness Into Light has also become a global movement, with walks being held in 19 countries over five continents. If you want to take part in your local event, there’s still time to sign up and make a real difference to people’s lives.


Do your bit to support Pieta House

Pieta House has 15 centres across Ireland and it provides an invaluable service by offering free counselling to people who are struggling with suicidal thoughts or engaging in self harm. Registration for Darkness Into Light is €25 for adults and your money will save lives by funding Pieta House’s vital work. 

A total of 397 people in Ireland took their own lives in 2017 alone.

In addition to free counselling, Pieta House provides a 24/7 helpline and offers suicide bereavement counselling for people who have been bereaved by suicide. The Pieta Resilience Academy also works with school children to teach them positive mental health techniques and coping mechanisms.

Since 2006, Pieta House has helped over 40,000 people who were in suicidal distress or engaged in self harm. With 85pc of its income coming through fundraising, this event helps to keep the doors of its centres open and ensures that these crucial services are being provided.

Just €13 will keep the lights on in one of its 15 centres for a day. €31 will cover the cost of three calls into its 24/7 national helpline, which could be the first step to someone getting the help they need when they need it most.

If you and a friend take part, you’ve almost covered the €53 it costs to carry out an initial assessment on a person in crisis and to set them on the road to recovery. That registration fee could be the difference between life and death for someone who is struggling with suicidal thoughts.

Last year’s event raised €6m, with €800,000 coming from the overseas events.

It’s easy to find out where your nearest Darkness Into light location is – even if you can’t make it on the day, you can still pay your registration to show your support. If the walk at your nearest location is already full, don’t forget to check out other locations in your area.


A celebration of hope

Darkness Into light raises much-needed awareness around suicide prevention and the great work that Pieta House does. It also helps to start conversations around the topic and to remove the stigma around suicide.

It’s about thousands of people coming together to take a symbolic journey from despair to hope and to show their support for anyone who is struggling with suicidal thoughts.

Plus, it’s a celebration of life. It’s hard not to be inspired by the sight of so many people in yellow t-shirts coming together in the darkness and walking together as sun rises.

If you sign up, you’ll feel firsthand the sense of community and good fun that is synonymous with the event. It’s a perfect opportunity for friends or family of any age to do something together that really matters.

You don’t need to be a professional athlete or to finish the walk in any particular time. You could even take the dog for an early morning walk while you’re at it.

Working together for a great cause

Pieta House enjoys a close and long-standing relationship with Electric Ireland and ESB through the ESB Energy for Generations fund. A staff vote in 2005 identified suicide, homelessness and education as three areas that staff most wanted to see the fund address. This fund has now invested more than €6.5m towards suicide prevention in Ireland since 2005.

Electric Ireland’s sponsorship of Darkness into Light is part of their mission to create a brighter future for all customers, staff and communities. Electric Ireland’s support has seen the event grow from 20 venues in 2013 to almost 200 this year, making a huge difference to countless lives along the way.

Electric Ireland are powering hope throughout the country, encouraging people to experience “The Power of Hope” at Darkness Into Light at 4.15am on Saturday, May 11. Register to walk across venues nationwide on the Darkness Into Light website.

If you need help, Pieta are there.

Call the 24/7 freephone helpline on 1800 247 247.

Text the word ‘Help’ to 51444 (standard text rates apply).

Sponsored by: EI

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