A NEW centre aimed at assisting those having thoughts of suicide or self harm will soon open in Limerick city and will operate from 8pm - 4am.
Estimated to open within the next month, the centre, which will be named Haven Hub, will be run by trained volunteers and will operate during the peak times that incidents of suicides or self harm tends to take place, with almost half of self harm presentation to emergency rooms being between 7pm and 3am according to a report by the National Suicide Research Foundation (NSRF).
It is a much-needed resource in Limerick, which has the highest rates of female self-harm in the country and second-highest for male self-harm, according to research by NSRF.
Data from the Central Statistics Office from 2014-16 also places Limerick as having the second-highest rates of female suicide in the country, and the ninth highest for men.
Haven Hub will be the only night-time facility for people in Limerick seeking help-- as things stand, the only option is to present at a hospital emergency room. Those who present at the centre, either voluntarily or because a suicide patrol spotted them in distress by the river Shannon, will receive support and information about other resources available to them
Irish media outlet The Journal spoke to Leona O'Callaghan, the founder of the newest resource for those suffering with their mental health.
“I came out the other end of recovery and I’ve been in that place. Thankfully, I’m out of it now,” she said.
“I’m lucky to have been helped by some of the great services in Limerick… But some people weren’t so lucky to get a second chance.
“The message many people believe is that they can’t be helped, but this isn’t true.”
“There is so much to avail of here in terms of services during the day, but people don’t know in the evening what is actually available to them because nowhere is open after 10pm except A & E.
“I’m not saying this is an alternative to the emergency services because it isn’t," Ms O'Callaghan stressed.
"But it is a place where people can look for some hope.”
“We need a positive message and to have a place to show that help is available,”
Last month we published a Limerick woman's powerful post about Ireland's mental health services failing the people it was supposed to protect after the suicides of three young women-- Yasmin Williams, Mia O'Neill and Antoinette Massey-- in close succession in Limerick city.
The Irish Post reached out to the Minister for Mental Health and Older People, Jim Daly TD, whose office promised a response from the Minister, but six weeks later no such response has been issued and the office has stopped replying to emails.
If you need to talk...
Samaritans Ireland: +353 1 671 0071
Samaritans London: 020 7734 2800