Participants in the inaugural Fermoy Darkness into Light event - a Darkness Into Light ‘Sunrise’ appeal is instead taking place this year, on Saturday, May 9th. (Picture: Catherine Sheehan)

An urgent appeal has been launched this week for the public to donate funds to ensure that Pieta’s essential frontline services can remain in operation and continue to be delivered free of charge, with the annual Darkness into Light event for 2020 having to be postponed due to Covid-19.

On Saturday, May 9th, it was expected that over 250,000 people would have come together on every continent to walk together, highlighting the fight against suicide and self-harm, with the event being the main annual source of funding for Pieta.

As the walks cannot now take place, a Darkness Into Light ‘Sunrise’ appeal is instead taking place on that day.

People are being encouraged to come together, while remaining apart, by getting up at 5.30am to watch the sunrise on the day – people can donate what they can to this vital charity, thus showing community and solidarity with those impacted by suicide.

Pieta are also asking people to spread the message and offer hope by sharing their sunrise moment using the hashtag #DIL2020.

The need for Pieta’s lifesaving services is greater than ever as Covid-19 impacts not only on the nation’s physical health but its mental health too.

As people find themselves worried, anxious, under strain, financially impacted and in many cases isolated and alone, the effect on mental health is significant.

Pieta needs support more than ever before – recent research confirmed that 1 in 5 Irish people are experiencing clinically defined levels of depression.

Even before 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%.

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.

Urgent request

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. 

“Our bereavement counsellors are supporting people who have lost loved ones and who are struggling to come to terms with their loss in a world where friends and family cannot grieve together as a result of the lockdown.

“Funding from the public has never been more vital to keep Pieta’s door open. The Darkness into Light walk will hopefully take place later in the year, but we can’t wait – we’re urgently asking people to donate, whatever they can.

“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.”

So please donate now and allow Pieta to support those in suicidal distress and stand in collective solidarity with all those impacted by suicide at sun rise on May 9th.

Donate at