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143,000 unite for Darkness Into Light 2021 and raise €7.3m for those impacted by suicide

Last Saturday thousands of people shared ’One Sunrise Together’ and sent messages of hope around the world to people who have been impacted by suicide and self-harm.

In a year when we have spent so much time apart from loved ones, this was a rare unifying moment, and Pieta and Electric Ireland would like to extend their appreciation to everyone who got involved in this year’s socially distant Darkness Into Light.

RTE’s The Late Late Show kicked off the special weekend with a dedicated Darkness Into Light programme with viewers showing incredible generosity, raising more than €1 million euro for Pieta.

Friday evening’s show was a sign of the support to come; Despite the windy and wet conditions thousands of people across the country joined for Darkness into Light on Saturday to share ‘One Sunrise Together’.

The support continued right across the weekend with many more participants in the iconic yellow t-shirts rising at dawn on Sunday also, showing solidarity for those impacted by suicide.

The generosity and support of everyone who signed up or donated means that Pieta’s free crisis helpline can continue to support people struggling with self-harm or suicidal thoughts. More than 80% of Pieta’s funding comes from public donations.

Pieta employs more than 200 qualified therapists and support staff across 20 centres nationally, and their services are free to anyone who needs them. With over 22,500 calls and texts placed to Pieta’s crisis line so far this year, Darkness Into Light is vital to ensure this service remains freely available to everyone 24/7.

With the pandemic continuing to put stress on the nation’s mental health and the demand for Pieta’s services continuing to rise, below is a breakdown of the costs to keep Pieta’s services freely available.

In 2020:

  • Pieta required €5.6 million to continue its free intervention counselling, both face–to-face and via video to people experiencing suicidal ideation and engaging in self-harm
  • It cost almost €1.5 million to provide suicide bereavement counselling and liaison services
  • Over €800k was needed to provide a 24-hour phone line and text service for people in crisis
  • Almost €300k was invested in resilience in teenagers through the Pieta Resilience academy

The funds raised from this year’s Darkness Into Light will make a direct impact on communities around the country, with the funding going direct to Pieta’s life-saving services.

Speaking about this year’s Darkness Into Light, Marguerite Sayers, Executive Director, Electric Ireland, said; “Saturday morning was very special for all of us in Electric Ireland.

“Thousands of people across Ireland and the world came together, even while apart, and walked, ran, swam, biked or simply shared a sunrise together to support Darkness Into Light and to offer hope to those impacted by suicide.

“Every year since 2013, when our partnership began with Pieta, we have been truly moved by the generosity of the Irish people and the true determination they show to offer support to some of the most vulnerable in our society.

“This year has been tough for us all, and Pieta have worked tirelessly to meet the need for their life-saving services throughout the year. Thanks to those who took part in Darkness Into Light last weekend, the vital funds raised will allow Pieta to continue their mission to support those impacted by suicide and self-harm – a mission we are so proud to support.”

Continuing about Darkness Into Light 2021, Elaine Austin, Pieta CEO, said; “We are truly humbled by the response to this year’s event and very grateful to Darkness into Light committees, volunteers and our partners, Electric Ireland. Despite the inclement weather, tens of thousands of people turned out at sunrise on Saturday to support Pieta and to fund expansion of our free counselling services. For many of us, of course, this is more than just a fundraising event – it is an opportunity to commemorate loved ones lost to suicide and to do so in solidarity with others similarly affected.”

The kindness and support continued online where many people shared images of their sunrise moment and offered words of hope and solidarity to those impacted by suicide.

Several well-known personalities supported Pieta, including Louise Cooney, Caroline Foran, Maurice Shanahan, Jack McGrath, Mary Black, Lawson Mpame, Laura Whitmore and Donie O’Sullivan.

If you didn’t get a chance to support, you can still donate by visiting www.darknessintolight.ie

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