A Cookstown psychotherapist hopes a unique event she is planning will help bring the difficult issues of suicide and self-harm out of the darkness.
In a first for Northern Ireland, Una Campbell is bringing the Darkness Into Light event - which has a 4am start - to the town to raise awareness of the issues and to fundraise for the Pieta House organisation.
Pieta House, based in Lucan in County Dublin but with seven other additional centres in the greater Dublin area, will be supporting the local suicide awareness and prevention charity, the Niamh Louise Foundation, through the event which, if successful, will be an annual fundraiser.
The Darkness Into Light event has never been held in Northern Ireland before - until now - and that is thanks to the efforts of Ms Campbell, who has worked with Pieta House during her time in Dublin.
The former St Patrick’s Academy Dungannon student operates a pyschotherapy practice from the offices of Diamond Dental Clinic in Cookstown, and is hopeful that the local community will get behind this fascinating charity venture.
“Pieta House have seven centres in the south at present with another two due to open”, Una told the MAIL.
“The organisation works to prevent suicide and self-harming and every year the Darkness Into Light event is their big fundraiser.
“This event will take place in 80 venues internationally, including New York, Sydney and London, but this is the first time that it will be taken across the border.
“We would love to raise awareness of the problems faced by so many people and Pieta House, through the event on 9 May, want to recognise the work that is being done in the local area by the Niamh Louise Foundation.
Figures show higher number of females have self-harmed in the Mid Ulster area as opposed to males
“This is a north-south venture in that respect, a joining together for the same cause.”
On the issue of recent Department of Health statistics which showed that a higher number of females have self-harmed in the Mid Ulster area as opposed to males, Una said: “According to the figures we have, eight out of ten suicides affect males and certainly those of a younger age bracket.
“We would certainly find that self-harming would be a problem for females also.”
Already the local fundraiser is creating quite a talking point locally, with over 2,000 people subscribing to the Darkness Into Light Cookstown Facebook page.
“So far we seem to be gathering momentum and if it is successful, we would love this to be an annual event”, Una continued.
Una will be visiting her former school to promote the event within the next few weeks. More details can be found on the Facebook page, and registration can be done through the website www.pieta.ie