Counselling Help to 20 Suicidal Irish People

by Hope Trust
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Counselling Help to 20 Suicidal Irish People
Counselling Help to 20 Suicidal Irish People
Counselling Help to 20 Suicidal Irish People
Light in the darkness
Light in the darkness

Seasons greetings to those preparing for end of year festivities and to those remembering Holy celebrations.  This is often a nostalgic time of the year, reminiscing over Christmas' past or over events in the year present.  2020 will certainly be remembered by most as a time of recalibration and examining what is important in life.

We would like to say at the outset our sincerest condolences, thoughts and prayers are with those who have suffered loss this year; whether through death, despair or change of circumstance.  To those who have found themselves without hope for the future, we would like to encourage you to hold on, you will be missed, please reach out for help.  We are all made for connection and the world would be a poorer place without you.

To those who have played such a vital role in saving lives and offering support and encouragement - thank you!  Your love and dedication have underlined the importance of humanity and caring for each other.  

On Saturday 31st October, 2020, Hope Trust invited and encouraged people to light a candle and place it in their windows as a sign of hope in the darkness.  In a season when many are focussed on the hopelessness of death, we felt it important to encourage those who are struggling to find hope for the future.

Many have lost loved ones to suicide and at present, to Covid.  Many are isolated and overwhelmed with grief.  It is a time when those who have faith in God can release prayers of comfort and consolation and provide a community of care to those who are suffering. For those who are discouraged at this time we pray you may be touched by God and be able to embrace the Spirit of Life that He offers us.  

We hope to resume Bereavement Support Groups in 2021, dependent upon restrictions that are in place at the time. Also to continue with both face to face and 'online' counselling going forward.

Happy Christmas to you all!

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So near and yet so far!
So near and yet so far!

We are happy to report that at the end of June, with lifting of restrictions, we were able to offer face to face counselling again.  Not just via a media screen, but in the flesh.

This has led to a number of adjustments on our behalf not just to comply with regulations, but in order to offer the maximum amount of safety that we can to clients who come.  Because we meet for at least an hour at a time with clients we needed to:

  • move to a larger room to ensure a 3metre distance between people
  • erect a transparent screen between counsellor and counsellee, so that we do not need to wear masks during the counselling session
  • clean and sanitise the space between clients by wiping chairs, door handles, toilet facilities and stair rails
  • we now offer individual bottled water and small tissue packs instead of a cup of tea and a box of tissues!
  • Clients have to report on their movements and whether they have knowingly had contact with someone with Covid

However it is worth it,  particularly for those who have felt isolated or imprisoned in their own homes.  For those who have been afraid to venture out and are concerned about levels of hygiene in public spaces. For those who are simply frustrated with life in this place of limbo, who want things to return to normal as soon as possible.  Also for those following conspiracy theories around Covid, who believe it is all political manipulation. 

We need to ensure that we are not adding risk to another individual by ensuring certain standards.  We also want to still be there alongside people despite the altered way of doing that.  To be human and not completely clinical.  With time people no longer see the screen between us, but it does involve adjustment and reassurance from the counsellor involved and a strong commitment to make contact through empathy.

We continue to meet online with those who are not able to travel or who prefer to not be out of their homes unnecessarily.  At times internet connections are not good, particularly for those living in the country, which poses difficulties with broken phrases or in hearing each other.  Still it is preferable to not receiving counselling at all!

Our experience is one of admiration for the way in which many are dealing with very difficult situations or facing anxiety and fear with determination.  So many are in a process of grief either for lost family or friends, lost lifestyle, work opportunities and income, plans for the future.  But often its the unknown that seems harder to deal with.  This time of transition has left many with a sense of uncertainty over what lies ahead - what is normal anymore?  Moving into a 'new normal' can be very transient as conditions change and decisions need to be made without any real sense of clarity of choice.

We still strongly believe that this too will pass.  There is still hope for the future and the present.  That life is still a gift and so too, each other.  Perhaps the benefit of crisis is that we learn to really appreciate what is important and to value those we love more fully.

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Nothing could prepare one for the change and disruption to 'normality' that most have experienced during this Covid 19 epidemic.  The levels of fear for the future or the unknown are really high for many and most people would agree that life will never be the same as it was before.  It is a strange experience to know that most countries on the globe have been affected and infected, so that there is a sense of universal suffering.

Our hearts swell with emotion and gratitude when we hear of the many working on the frontline who have put their own lives at risk in order to help others.  Alongside that the feelings of helplessness when hearing of the growing numbers of fatalities and the growing sense of loss as families are unable to be with their loved ones dying in hospital, or attending funerals with all family members.

In my last report I said that 'we here at Hope Trust are expectant for change and really desire that in reaching out for help, people might find hope in their varying situations.  If one's focus is solely on the various catastrophies and disorder around the globe, one would find it hard to be at peace.  However, there is still good news to be found, despite varying other reports.'

Our expression of 'community' may have changed from the tactile to more 'online' presence but hopefully this has increased our need to connect with one another and reach out to others in need of help.  I also reported previously 'there is no 'one solution' to the issues that lead to poor mental health but listening, encouragement, community and a sense of purpose and belonging can go a long way to helping those who struggle'.

We are continuing with our work of counselling and connecting with support group participants.  Admittedly it is not quite the same as being present physically, face to face.  But thanks to various 'online' platforms we have been able to meet with people via internet and hopefully this will in some small way help those who are struggling with mental health issues.

We would like to extend hope to any reading this who have been adversely affected physically, financially, emotionally or spiritually.  We have faith and trust that we can emerge from this catastrophe more resilient, but also more sensitive to one another's needs.

May God bless you all.

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Will a new decade bring change and new hope to people?  

We here at Hope Trust are expectant for change and really desire that in reaching out for help, people might find hope in their varying situations.  If one's focus is solely on the various catastrophies and disorder around the globe, one would find it hard to be at peace.  However, there is still good news to be found, despite  varying other reports.

We were encouraged to know that the suicide rate is decreasing here in Ireland. Peak figures published by the Central Statistics Office in Ireland in 2011 recorded 554 deaths whilst 2017 reflect a total of 392.  Whilst even one death to suicide is tragic, and the figure is still too high, the downward trend is very encouraging.

  • According to The (4/10/18) there were 'almost 400 suicides registered in Ireland in 2017, with men accounting for about eight in 10 deaths... John Meehan, HSE Assistant National Director and Head of the NOSP and Mental Health Strategy & Planning, said the downward trends in suicide deaths are welcome, but added that suicide “remains a complex issue requiring evidenced and targeted approaches and interventions across many different sectors”.'

There is no 'one solution' to the issues that lead to poor mental health but listening, encouragement, community and a sense of purpose and belonging can go a long way to helping those who struggle.

These are the aims that we continue to promote and hope that we play a small part in making a change.  We met with a few who had attended a bereavement support group recently and were really encouraged to know that the group experience had really helped and supported them.  Much of the support came from the group itself; Hope Trust led and facilitated it, but in sharing their grief together in safety, peace and hope was found.

We thank you for helping us to offer that comfort.  Whether in the counselling room or within a support group, we could not continue without partners who care.

We hope for a brighter future in 2020!

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walkers in support
walkers in support

The last quarter of the year Hope Trust has been engaged in counselling a number of different issues, including suicidal ideation and self harm.  We also completed another successful bereavement support group in the Galway area.  It was moving to see those attending responding to help and support that was offered, some having been stuck in their grief for many years.   

We also like to be involved within the community to identify with those who may be struggling or feeling isolated, to that end we organised the following.

The Hope Trust undertook a Candlelit Walk from Athlone Castle to the Town Centre on the 31st October to show public support and solidarity for those who have lost loved ones to suicide.  Around 40 people gathered outside the Castle to proceed on a candle lit walk to the Athlone town centre.  The main focus of the walk was for the local churches and community to demonstrate support for those who have been affected by the loss of a loved one to suicide.  The event was planned by Hope Trust, a local charity formed to offer a Christian response to the high suicide and self-harm issues in the Midlands. 

The evening ended with flute music followed by prayer for all husbands, wives, children, brothers and sisters, aunts, uncles, colleagues and friends who are grieving a loss.  Thanks were also offered and prayer for the Gardaii, emergency services and volunteers who respond to traumatic incidents.  Lastly prayer was offered for all those who are struggling with suicidal thinking and an appeal for them to hold on, reach out for help and believe that there is a purpose for their lives, even if they have lost sight of hope at this moment.

Whilst 2019 reflected a suicide rate that had decreased over past years, there are still too many deaths.  Thankfully there are more people responding to calls to talk or receive counselling.

We thank GlobalGiving and those who donate to our charity for your part in helping us to reach out to those who are struggling.

God bless you and your families!

supporters on the walk
supporters on the walk
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Hope Trust

Location: Athlone - Ireland
Project Leader:
Linda Rowett
Athlone, Ireland
$20,792 raised of $30,000 goal
361 donations
$9,208 to go
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