Pieta to franchise treatment model

Work is under way to turn a treatment model devised by an Irish suicide crisis charity into a franchise after a number of countries, including the US, expressed an interest in rolling it out themselves.

Pieta House, which is just seven years old, already has six centres in Ireland, with three more due to open by year end. The franchise would not be commercial.

Charity founder and CEO, Joan Freeman, said they had given presentations in Norway and Texas, while charities in Greece, the UK and Northern Ireland had also shown interest.

“Our therapeutic model is working very successfully. We are the only organisation that deals with crisis intervention and the service is free. We’ve had a lot of overseas interest,” Ms Freeman said.

Figures for Jan to June this year show a 44% rise in people seeking help from last year, from 1,336 to 1,917.

Pieta House, which already operates four centres in Dublin and one each in Tipperary and Limerick, is due to open in Galway and Kerry before the end of the year. It is due to open its Cork centre on Dec 9.

Ms Freeman said the Sisters of Mercy offered a premises on the Model Farm Road in Cork city, while the Bon Secours Hospital had pledged €150,000 to adapt the old convent. The Rotary Club in Mallow raised €25,000 towards soft furnishings and the Ronayne family from Mallow, whose daughter and sister Cliadhna took her own life, raised €30,000 by climbing Kilimanjaro.

Pieta House’s model involves a professional, one- to-one therapeutic service. A doctor’s referral or a psychiatric report is not required and the service is free of charge.

* www.pieta.ie.

Watch list

Suicidal thoughts: Spot the signs

* Sleep disturbance.

* Isolation.

* Giving possessions away

* No interest in anything.

* Seeing no future.


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