Tommy Walsh calls on the public to support Pieta’s urgent appeal for donations and join in on ‘Sunrise’ on May 9th

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REPRO FREE***PRESS RELEASE NO REPRODUCTION FEE*** EDITORIAL USE ONLY Electric Ireland Darkness Into Light Ambassador Tommy Walsh Encourages Public To Come Together While Staying Apart On May 9th 6/5/2020 On behalf of Electric Ireland, Darkness Into Light Ambassador and Former Kilkenny hurler, Tommy Walsh is encouraging the public to come together, while staying apart by getting up at 5:30am on May 9th to watch the sunrise to show solidarity with those impacted by suicide. He is also asking people to spread the message and offer hope by sharing their sunrise moment using the #DIL2020. On May 9th, it was expected that over 250,000 people would come together on every continent to walk together, highlighting the fight against suicide and self-harm. As the walks cannot take place as planned due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, Electric Ireland and Pieta have launched an urgent Darkness Into Light ‘Sunrise Appeal’ which encourages people to donate what they can to this vital charity. Pictured is Tommy Walsh Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/James Crombie

ON May 9th, it was expected that over 250,000 people would come together on every continent to walk together, highlighting the fight against suicide and self-harm.

Darkness Into Light, proudly supported by Electric Ireland is the main annual source of funding for Pieta. However, due to the ongoing global pandemic, COVID-19, Pieta together with Electric Ireland have had to revise how the public can support it.

As the walks cannot take place as planned in May, a Darkness Into Light ‘Sunrise’ appeal is taking place on May 9th.

A GOAL of 10,000 participants has been set by members of Pieta House for this year’s Darkness Into Light walk, which will take place on May 11, 2019.
A GOAL of 10,000 participants has been set by members of Pieta House for this year’s Darkness Into Light walk, which will take place on May 11, 2019.

With less than three days to go to the appeal, Former Kilkenny hurler and Darkness Into Light Ambassador, Tommy Walsh is encouraging people to donate what they can and come together while remaining apart by getting up at 5:30am to watch the sunrise.

Recent research revealed that 1 in 5 Irish people are suffering from depression. And the need for Pieta’s lifesaving services has never been greater as COVID-19 impacts not only on the nation’s physical health but its mental health too.

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Prior to the outbreak of COVID-19 the public need for Pieta’s services was on the increase, with calls to Pieta’s helpline up 49% year on year while text messages to Pieta had increased by 46%.

The funds raised from Darkness into Light help to keep Pieta centres open, offering free therapy, the 24/7 Helpline line, and education and bereavement counselling for people in need of support.

In 2018, over 8,000 clients were supported with face to face therapy by Pieta experts.  Since 2006, over 40,000 people received support from intervention and bereavement counselling services.

Speaking about the Darkness Into Light ‘Sunrise Appeal’, Former Kilkenny hurler, Tommy Walsh said: “I’m honoured to be an ambassador for the Darkness Into Light ‘Sunrise’ Appeal.

“I encourage everyone to get out of bed at 5:30am and wear yellow to show support to those struggling with their mental health. As the restrictions in Ireland continue, the role that Pieta plays in the lives of its service users is becoming increasingly more important as many people continue to feel alone and isolated in quarantine.

“It is vital that we support them so that they can keep their centres open and continue to provide their essential services.” he said.

Elaine Austin, CEO of Pieta said: “As a result of Covid-19, our helpline has seen an increase in calls from people all over the country who are in crisis right now with many others presenting with high anxiety.

“Funding from the public has never been more vital to keep Pieta’s door open. This will help fund our services, ensuring we can continue to support those in their darkest hours and to keep delivering our one-to-one counselling.

“While we are devastated that we won’t come together physically on May 9th, we will share a special moment of togetherness by getting up at 5:30am and watching the sunrise.

“We would also appreciate if people can wear yellow or a previous year’s t-shirt that day to show support for those impacted by suicide.” she added.

Marguerite Sayers, Executive Director, Electric Ireland, said: “At Electric Ireland we believe that when people rally together, we can achieve anything. We have been committed to supporting Pieta through the Darkness Into Light event for the last seven years.

“Given the unprecedented challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, now more than ever, we are conscious of the importance of caring for people’s mental health and the urgent need to support Pieta’s vital work.

“We are appealing to people all over Ireland to come together, while remaining apart, and support this urgent appeal to ensure that Pieta, who are on the frontline of suicide prevention, can continue saving lives.” she explained.

80% of Pieta funds come from the general public and these funds have been greatly impacted due to social distancing restrictions.

Just €20 can fund two life-saving calls to those who are in crisis. Join the conversation online using the hashtags #DIL2020 #DILSunriseAppeal and make a life-saving donation at www.darknessintolight.ie.