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21st Apr 2020

Pieta House launch ‘Sunrise’ appeal following Darkness Into Light postponement

Jade Hayden

“Our helpline has seen an increase in calls from people all over the country.”

Pieta House has launched a new ‘Sunrise’ appeal in place of their annual Darkness Into Light event.

The nighttime run usually takes places every May, but the new restrictions in place due to the coronavirus pandemic means that the event has been postponed.

The vast majority of Pieta’s funding comes from donations, a considerable chunk of which will not be received this year in Darkness Into Light’s absence.

Instead the charity, along with Electric Ireland, have launched their Sunrise appeal – a call for people across the country to watch the sunrise together at 5.30am on May 9, when the run was scheduled to take place.

New research has shown that 1 in 5 Irish people are experiencing clinically defined levels of depression. Even before Covid-19, interest in Pieta’s services was on the increase with calls to the helpline up 49 percent year on year, while text messages had increased by 46 percent.

“As a result of Covid-19, our helpline has seen an increase in calls from people all over the country who are in crisis right now with many others presenting with high anxiety,” said Pieta CEO Elaine Austin.

“Our bereavement counsellors are supporting people who have lost loved ones and who are struggling to come to terms with their loss in a world where friends and family cannot grieve together as a result of the lockdown.” 

Austin says that public funding has “never been more vital” in ensuring that Pieta’s services continue to run smoothly.

While they are hopeful that Darkness Into Light will return later this year, the gap in donations will be felt massively by the charity.

“We can’t wait – we’re urgently asking people to donate, whatever they can,” says Austin.

“This will help fund our services, ensuring we can continue to support those in their darkest hours and to keep delivering our one-to-one counselling.

“While we are devastated that we won’t come together physically on May 9, we will share a special moment of togetherness by getting up at 5:30am and watching the sunrise. We would also appreciate if people can wear yellow or a previous year’s t-shirt that day to show support for those impacted by suicide.”

Pieta are asking people to spread the message and offer hope on May 9 by sharing their sunrise moment using the hashtag, #DIL2020.

You can find out more about Sunrise, or make a donation, here.