Surge in calls to suicide prevention helpline

Erin Gallagher (left), and older sister Shannon who both died by suicide

One of Ireland’s dedicated 24-hour suicide prevention helplines has received an almost 10% spike in calls from people worried that a family member is at risk of suicide.

Statistics released by 1Life reveal that 22% of all daily calls it receives to its helpline are made between 10pm and 1am and in 25% of these calls, loneliness and isolation are recorded as significant factors.

The number of distressed callers citing financial stress or debt issues increasing from 11% in 2010 to 17% in 2012.

1Life director Noel Smyth said: “Whilst Christmas is generally a time for families to come together and enjoy the season, it can be difficult for many people who may be in need of support.

“Additionally, others may find themselves in a position where they are hosting a relative who may give them some cause for concern, whether by appearing particularly low or by displaying unsettling behaviour such as severe anxiety which may be a sign of suicidal ideation.”

Mr Smyth said the increase in calls served as a timely reminder to people that support is on hand for those in crisis throughout the Christmas period — a time when regular medical and psychiatric support services might be interrupted by the holiday.

“Family members may need to ask for help with what to do next what to say or do to help or what to avoid. I would urge anyone who finds themselves in crisis or is worried about a relative to contact our trained suicide prevention counsellors who can offer practical advice and support in confidence. That call could help avert a crisis,” he said.

* 1Life will operate day and night on 1800 247100, providing emotional support, therapeutic counselling and in the event of emergencies, crisis referrals and emergency intervention.

1Life also operates a text service — Text the word HELP to 51444 (standard message rates apply).

Where to find help

* Console 24-hour helpline: 1800 201890.

* Samaritans 24-hour helpline: 1850 609090 / Text: 087 2 609090 / Email:

* Pieta House Crisis Centre for prevention of self-harm and suicide: Free of charge counselling, and drop-in branches Dublin and Limerick. Helpline: 01 6010000.

Email: Website:

* Aware: Provides support to those affected by depression and related disorders. Helpline: 1850 303302 (10am-10pm Monday- Wednesday; 10am-1am Thursday).

Email: (9am-5pm).

* Cork Support Group: Contact Kate: 087 2993142.

* Irish Friends of the Suicide Bereaved: Helpline: 021 4316722. Email:

* Childline 24-hour helpline: 1800 666666. TeenText Service: Text ‘Talk’ to 50101. Website:


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