“Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind.
‘Pooh!’ he whispered.
’Nothing,’ said Piglet, taking Pooh’s paw. ‘I just wanted to be sure of you’.”
These words from A.A. Milne’s children’s classic ‘The House at Pooh Corner’ strike a chord in these tumultuous times.
These are testing times, our lives are filled with worry and unease at the moment, but we are all in this together.
It is more important now than ever before to reach out and be there for those who need a friend to lean on.
With our lives changed dramatically since March 12, with the closure of schools, and many in social isolation, it is more important than ever to check in on friends and family that may be struggling to cope.
Many are feeling anxious and stressed and this may be heightened with the barrage of bad news we are exposed to.
But you are not alone and those in need of extra support at this time can reach out to the Pieta team, who are providing free access to therapists for anyone who is experiencing suicidal thoughts or engaging in self-harm.
Help is at hand for those struggling – they can call the Pieta team on 1800 247 247. This number is staffed night and day, according to Pieta’s Funding and Advocacy Manager, Tom McEvoy.
“We’re reaching out to the community to say we’re still open, that the service still exists for everyone in the community,” says Tom.
“We’re also asking people to continue supporting us so that we can keep rolling out our one-to-one counselling, although it will be phone therapy at this stage through our 1800 247 247 number.”
Suicidal thoughts and thoughts of self-harm can affect anyone at any time but clearly the current situation can exasperate the strain that a person is under.
Jobs lost, reduced working hours, worry about personal finances, worry about loved ones, loneliness for some and the stress caused by lack of personal space for others are just some of the issues arising from these exceptional circumstances. For Pieta, this has led to a high volume of calls from people looking for help.
“There is raised anxiety and the calls are coming in hot and heavy at the moment,” adds Tom.
“We’ve a text number as well so people can text us if they’re finding it difficult to get through to our 1800 247 247 number.
“They simply have to text their name and contact details to 51444 and we’ll engage with them as soon as we possibly can. That text number is supported by a therapist as well.”
Pieta has helped almost 60,000 people since it was first established over fifteen years ago. It focusses on those who are in suicidal distress or engaging in self-harm. The team of professional therapists offer coping mechanisms to clients and look to offer a new perspective on any issues that they’re trying to overcome.
The free counselling service provides a safe place for those who get in touch and can help get through their crisis.
The importance of being there for friends, family and the community is critical and can make a huge difference in people’s lives. Tom encourages people to reach out to friends or loved ones with a phone call at this difficult time.
“We are going to see an end to this at some point, but we need to stay connected in the meantime,” he explains.
“Reach out to the vulnerable. Reach out to people who you might think are okay but a phone call might assure you of that or create a new pathway for a conversation in that person’s life that might help them through that day.
“That’s all we’re asking. Just take one day at a time and just try to help people who are a little bit more vulnerable than you are.”
“We say not to hesitate in asking somebody are they suicidal. I know it’s a very, very tough question to even imagine having to ask. But if somebody is concerned about a friend or a loved one who they think isn’t in a good place, they need to confront that person and say ‘Are you suicidal?’
Just by asking that question, you can motivate somebody into action.”
Talking about mental health does not come easy to many people and it may be the first time they have considered opening up to another person about their mental wellbeing. This first step can lead to their getting professional help and that’s where Pieta comes in.
Pieta services are provided free of charge with no hospital or doctor’s referral required. The organisation is dependent on the public to support these services and Pieta are reaching out to the community to donate whatever they can in order to support the provision of counselling.
Darkness Into Light – the international event that provides much-needed funds for Pieta every year – has been postponed because of the Covid-19 crisis. Originally scheduled for May 9, the event will now take place in the autumn leaving Pieta with a significant shortfall in funds.
As a result, the charity is appealing for the public’s help so it can continue to provide its life-saving services.
“It’s left a massive hole in our funding for this year, especially around now when there is raised anxiety in our community. The support is required even more than before with the type of work we do with people in crisis.
“We want to keep our therapists focused on the work that we do during this time. We’re probably talking about September time for Darkness Into Light to happen and hopefully people will continue to support us at that. But just during this time, if people could go to our website and help us and donate whatever they can afford to keep this critical work going at this time.”
If you would like to help, you can make a donation on the Pieta website. Alternatively, you can call 01-541 4746 and make a donation over the phone.