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Console plans to open suicide resource centre in Kerry

The national suicide prevention and bereavement charity unveiled its plans for the centre this morning.

Ciarán Austin, Director of Services, Console; Patrick O'Sullivan, Chairman Kerry County GAA Board; Frank Hayes Kerry Group PLC; Terence F Casey Coroner; Pat Sullivan C/super Kerry and AJ Spring TD
Ciarán Austin, Director of Services, Console; Patrick O'Sullivan, Chairman Kerry County GAA Board; Frank Hayes Kerry Group PLC; Terence F Casey Coroner; Pat Sullivan C/super Kerry and AJ Spring TD
Image: Domnick Walsh

SUICIDE PREVENTION AND bereavement charity Console has announced plans to open a suicide resource centre in Kerry.

Speaking to TheJournal.ie, its Director of Services Ciaran Austin said that they had acquired the premises this year from the Sisters of Mercy. It will be based at the McAuley Home, Balloonagh, Tralee.

“What we have seen in Kerry is a real need for this centre,” he said.

It has had an awful problem with suicide in the last few years. Rates are high there. We have been trying to serve the Kerry community with some level of support but we’ve been doing that really remotely from our Limerick and Cork centres. The time has come about where we really need a full time presence.

Austin said that in the next six months they hope to have the doors open at the centre, but they need support from their community. “We’re confident that we can provide a really comprehensive range of services,” he said. The centre will be refurbished and will contain offices, counselling and therapy rooms, rooms specifically for use by children during play therapy, and more.

All Console services are free and highly accessible to those in need, but to open and maintain the centre, Console will need some financial support from businesses and agencies across the county. “We want it to be a really welcoming therapy sanctuary for people,” said Austin.

He said that Oireachtas members from Kerry have already promised their full support, adding: “Stakeholders and businesses who may be aware of the devastation that suicide can cause, are being asked to do what they can to make this badly-needed centre a reality”.

Collaboration

Austin added that he hoped they would work in collaboration with the suicide prevention groups that are already in Kerry. They also hope to provide a complete range of services to workplaces. “Instead of us coming to them and just providing some information and support and then leaving again, they can come to us and there can be ongoing support.”

The Console Centre in Tralee will function as a suicide prevention counselling service and resource centre, facilitating a broad range of community-based activities raising awareness of the important issues connected to suicide.

Console offers counselling services and a 24-hour helpline support to people in crisis and those bereaved by suicide. It has full-time centres in Dublin, Cork, Wexford, Limerick, and Galway and also offers services in Mayo, Kildare, and other areas of Dublin such as Tallaght and Clondalkin. Counselling is available for any individual, couples, families or children who have been affected by suicide.

Free helpline number: 1800 201 890 or see www.console.ie.

Read: Lack of information on mental health deaths ‘extremely worrying’>

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