Thousands brave wind and rain for Darkness into Light as over €6m raised

Pieta House described the weather for the event as "challenging for a challenging year".
Thousands brave wind and rain for Darkness into Light as over €6m raised

People in Limerick coming out for the Darkness into Light walk in aid of Pieta House.

Strong winds and rain did nothing to dampen the spirits of the thousands of people who took part in this year's Darkness into Light this morning.

Pieta House described the weather for the event as "challenging for a challenging year".

Thousands of people around the country got up at sunrise at around 5am this morning to raise funds for the suicide prevention charity.

More than €6m has been raised from this year's events.

For the second year, Covid restrictions meant that events were unable to take place at designated Darkness into Light venues.

Instead, participants walked, ran, swam or hiked on their own or in their social bubble.

Kevin McNamara, Emma Casey and Ted the Dog, Caherdavin, Limerick City
Kevin McNamara, Emma Casey and Ted the Dog, Caherdavin, Limerick City

Pieta House spokesperson, Tom McEvoy is thrilled with the support.

"We have seen thousands of people, albeit social distancing, taking part in one sunrise together - darkness into light.

"It has been a huge success and we have received a lot of support funding-wise and we have registered at least 140,000 people who took part in this year's event."

Last night, €1.1 million was raised for the charity on the Late Late Show.

Mags Kirby, Siobhan Kirby and David Tierney.
Mags Kirby, Siobhan Kirby and David Tierney.

Speaking ahead of the event this morning, Pieta CEO Elaine Austin thanked all those who took part in the event and/or donated.

"Today as a united people right across Ireland and the world, you are putting your arms around all of us who have lost a loved one to suicide," said Ms Austin.

"You are giving us time to remember, a time to heal and a time to hope. You are helping all of us who are struggling not to lose heart, to hold on and find a way out of the darkness.

"You are shining a light on the shadow of stigma and making it easier for all of us to speak up, to talk about how we are feeling and to ask for help."

The number of calls and texts to Pieta House’s helpline related to suicide, self-harm, and bereavement rose by 25% at the beginning of the third wave of Covid-19, when compared to the same period 12 months earlier.

The suicide awareness charity also believes the pandemic burden will have “far-reaching implications” throughout 2021.

Speaking ahead of its annual fundraising event Darkness into Light tomorrow, the charity said it delivered more than 52,000 hours of therapy and answered over 70,000 calls and texts for help through its 24/7 crisis helpline in 2020.

If you or a loved one are struggling with your mental health, you can contact Pieta

on freephone 1800 247 247 or text HELP to 51444.

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