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Monday, 17th January 2022

Pieta Launches ‘SIGNS of Suicide’ campaign this Blue Monday

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Singer songwriter Aaron J Hart and Sam Donnelly, owner of Sam’s Barbers, pictured at the launch of Pieta’s ‘SIGNS of Suicide’ campaign. Photo: ©INPHO/James Crombie.

60% of clients are under 25

Ireland’s national suicide prevention charity, Pieta, has partnered with Sam’s Barbers this Blue Monday to drive awareness of Pieta’s SIGNS of suicide’ campaign w hich encourages people to ‘swap the small talk for the big talk’ as over half of Pieta’s clients are under 25 years old. 

Because many young men have great relationships with their barbers and consider this as somewhere they can talk freely, Pieta haspartnered with Sam’s Barbers. 

‘Signs of Suicide’ is a public awareness resource created to help family or friends support someone who may be at risk of self-harm or suicide. Pieta is urging everyone to be aware of the ‘Signs of Suicide’, so that you can help a loved one feeling blocked in by their own consuming thoughts and look towards feelings of hope. 

Pieta therapists found that most people who talk about suicide do not want to die. They simply want to stop the pain they feel. Knowing some of the signs to listen and watch out for is the first step in helping someone. 

SIGNS to look out for include: 

  1. Sleep disturbance
  2. Isolation
  3. Giving way possessions
  4. No interest in anything
  5. Speaking of no future

Leigh Kenny, Regional Manager and Therapist with Pieta, said; "January can be a particularly difficult time of the year for people struggling with their mental health but these struggles aren’t limited to a month or day of the year. 

“However, it is a great opportunity to highlight that it’s ok not to feel ok sometimes and the best thing you can do is talk about your feelings, whether that be with your family, friends or even your barber as we launch the ‘SIGNS of Suicide’ campaign with Sam’s Barbers.

“We encourage everyone to ‘swap the small talk for the big talk’ and watch out for the SIGNS in your loved ones – knowing the SIGNS of suicide could save a life.

“If you think someone you know is struggling then follow the three simple steps of A.P.R – Ask, Persuade and Refer. At Pieta we have trained professionals waiting to help.”

Sam Donnelly, owner of Sam’s Barber’s said; “...We have young lads come in here and they really do open-up and talk to us, sometimes they talk to us more than they talk to their friends or their girlfriends. It’s almost like the chair is a safe space.

“It is really important that people understand that there are signs of suicide and to know what to do if recognise these in a loved one. Pieta is a fantastic organisation and I fully support the work that they do.

“If I can play a small part in helping someone or raising awareness of the SIGNS so that someone recognises something in a friend or family member then I will be extremely happy. We need to support each other and look out for each other as much as possible.” 

Singer / Song Writer, Aaron J Hart, who is supporting the initiative said; “Anyone who knows my music will know that I’ve been through my own struggles, I know how difficult it is and how taking that first step is the hardest. 

It can be very difficult to speak to your family or friends about your struggles but that’s exactly what we need to do, we need to talk more and be open about our feelings and the hard times. Nobody can read minds, but Pieta’s SIGNS of Suicide really does help you to identify whether your friends may be struggling. If you suspect they are struggling reach out, make the first move – you never know, you could save a life.” 

If someone opens up to you, don’t be afraid to Ask them directly if they are thinking of suicide or want to kill themselves. Talking to them openly and honestly is one of the best things you can do. Even just listening is one of the most powerful tools available. Once you have asked the question, calmly and gently Persuade them to seek help or to allow you to assist them in getting help. If you cannot persuade them, remember that Pieta’s 24/7 Crisis Helpline is open 24 hours day.

 As soon as you can, Refer or guide them to Pieta – if you can, make the call with them or travel with them to the appointment.

Pieta’s professional counsellors specialise in suicide prevention and tackling self-harm. The charity has centres all over Ireland and Pieta’s Freephone Crisis Helpline 1800 247 247 which is open 24/7. All services are provided free of charge and no referral is needed. 

For more information and help visit www.pieta.ie 

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