275 saved by suicide patrol unit in Limerick

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by Alan Jacques

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Logo-CSPP-01A SUICIDE prevention group that patrols the River Shannon has saved almost 300 lives since setting up three years ago.

According to the Corbett Suicide Prevention Patrol (CSPP), the voluntary organisation comprised of 24 members have made 275 interventions along the riverbank since 2012.

Every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday night, CSPP units patrol between the New Bridge, Sarsfield Bridge, Thomond Bridge and Baal’s Bridge in Limerick city to identify and provide support to those in distress and maybe contemplating suicide.

Of the 275 interventions made by the group over the past 36 months, 100 were physical interventions.

A new report by the CSPP revealed that 180 of the suicide interventions made were people aged between 18 and 30. Forty interventions were made in the 30 to 40 age group; 30 between those aged 12 and 18; a further 15 in the 42 to 54 age group and 10 between 54 and 66.

Sixty per cent of those stopped from entering the river were male.

Last Christmas saw a peak in activity with 18 interventions between December 22 and January 2 with six on New Year’s Eve alone.

The youngest person the patrol units have stopped from entering the river was 16 and the oldest was 65.

CSPP volunteers, all aged over 25, receive first aid training, throw bag training and must also attend an applied suicide intervention skills workshop to learn how to approach people who may be in distress.

“We had to physically stop a lot of people going in. It was tough,” CSPP chairman Mike Mulholland told the Limerick Post.

“Some of these interventions were cries for help and others were fuelled by drugs and alcohol, but we also met people at the river who were distraught because they couldn’t put food on the table or buy presents for the kids.

“A lot of the people we come across are in desperate need to talk and may be hugely isolated in their lives. Whether family, friend or neighbour there are few families not touched by suicide,” he said.