LIMERICK Suicide Watch is a voluntary group working seven days a week, patrolling the city’s riverbanks on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday nights and clocking up almost 4,000 patrol hours so far this year.
Its membership is drawn from all walks of life and each play a major role in providing the essential service. Along with their regular work and family commitments, they volunteer to patrol the river in the darker hours of the night.
And at this special time of the year, they are extending their thanks to the families and friends in the background who make it possible for the group to continue.
Spokesperson Elaine Leahy said it required and enormous level of support to enable their volunteers to give up their spare time and without that support it would not be possible to keep the Suicide Watch operational.
“Our premises in the Tait Business Centre provides a safe and essential base for all our gear to be stored and a place where our volunteers can meet, regroup and carry out training. This has been given to us free of charge by Shannon Properties who have supported us immensely and played a huge role in Limerick Suicide Watch’s presence today.
“We would also like to say a special thank you to the services in Limerick, some also are voluntary and have often provided the vital support in helping someone in distress get home safely.
“Without the back-up of the Gardaí, Marine Search and Rescue, the Coast Guard, Limerick Fire and Emergency Service and the National Ambulance Service we would not be able to provide the level of service as well as we do,” she explained.
“These services are vital in helping to get someone safely from the river, assist in preventing self-harm and bringing them to a safe place where they will get the help they need and deserve. We would not have the high rate of successful interventions as we do without them.
“Since 2016, we have been involved in 500 interventions and many of these have been successfully dealt with due to the backup of the local services.
“We are also incredibly lucky to have the help of local taxi drivers who not only are on alert while working around the river vicinity and often bring situations to our attention, they also provide a safe way home and reassurance for us that we can continue with our patrol knowing they have made it home.
“The wellbeing of our members is paramount. We have a superb welfare team within the group, but we also have counsellors available who provide the listening ear and advice we may need following interventions.
“Without the support of the people of Limerick, we would not be where we are today, and so many more families would have lost loved ones. The main goal is to get loved ones home or to a safe place and receive the help they need.
“Limerick Suicide Watch is a voluntary group and without the fundraising of the local communities, individuals, companies and schools it would not be possible. We rely solely on donations and will be forever grateful for the incredible generosity to date.
“Times are uncertain, people are lonely, and the effects of isolation are likely to have an effect on a lot of us. People are out of work and worried. It is a time to look after each other, a phone call to remind others you’re there for them will go a long way.
“We have a huge support network, who all play a part in what we do and to all of you, we extend a sincere ‘thank you’.”