The President invited members of the crisis group Console to Áras an Uachtaráin on Monday to honour their tireless efforts in preventing suicide and supporting the suicide bereaved over the past decade.
Paul Kelly, founder and CEO of Console, said that having Mr Higgins recognise that suicide was a tragic reality in modern Ireland so early in his term was especially heartening for so many people touched by the issue.
Mr Kelly set up Console in 2002, after his younger sister took her own life to offer a support service.
The national charity supports those in suicidal crisis and those bereaved by suicide through its counselling and helpline services.
Mr Higgins said he wanted to join with Console members in celebrating the organisation’s 10th anniversary.
“On a personal level, I am particularly honoured to have worked closely with Console, who have been providing a vital, national suicide prevention, intervention and bereavement support service since 2002,” he said.
Mr Kelly said there was no doubt the economic downturn has had a major impact on people’s lives.
“We have people contacting us on a daily basis who are struggling with being made redundant, losing their homes or getting into serious debt.”
Mr Kelly said the charity was also dealing with children and adolescents who were at risk of suicide and situations where assisted suicide was being considered.
Mr Kelly urged people in distress to call the 1life 24-hour suicide prevention helpline on 1800 247 100, a joint venture between Turn the Tide of Suicide and Console.
The word HELP can also be texted to 51444.