SATURDAY morning (May 11) saw the first annual Darkness Into Light Event in the Causeway area.
Each year the walk provides an opportunity for people to connect with their local community and to show their support for those who have been bereaved by suicide.
Members of Limavady suicide awareness charity LIPS, were amongst over 1000 dedicated volunteers who gathered at Portrush Town Hall at 4am to take part in the event which managed to raise over £30,000.
A spokesperson for LIPS told the Northern Consitution:
“Our charity volunteered to raise awareness and to help reduce the stigma associated with both mental health and suicide prevention. “Some of us got the opportunity to walk and talk after our volunteering duties.
“It is amazing that over 1000 people came together to support Pieta House and locally The Samaritans - Community Rescue Service also showed there presence.
“The importance of reaching out, especially as this is mental health awareness week is key to looking after yourself.”
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Darkness Into Light Causeway Committee recalled the momentous event saying:
“As we drove up to Portrush Town Hall and people started to arrive we just had no idea what an amazing morning it would be.
“With just over 1,000 people in attendance the atmosphere was wonderful.
“It gave us all a chance to put our arms around all of those that have lost a loved one to suicide, giving us a time to remember, a time to heal, a time to hope.
“As we stood together with those struggling, not to lose heart, to hold on and to find a way out of the dark.
They continued: “Every person shone a light on the shadow of stigma, helped to make it easier for all of us to speak up, to talk about how we are feeling and to ask for help.
“The saying goes ‘action speak louder than words’.
“Over 1000 people took action, however the words, that this action spoke will have a continuous impact over so many in our community.
“We have already had messages from people that have said: ‘it has been a healing moment for them’.
“As well as messages from people who feel they have hope again to start a new chapter.”
The DIL Causeway Committee gave special thanks to the 140 volunteers, including the Community Rescue Service, St. John’s Ambulance, PSNI and the Samaritans.
They concluded: “We also want to thank Pieta House and the Darkness Into Light teams all over Ireland for the amazing work they do.
“We are looking forward to seeing everyone back again for DIL2020 and many more.”
If you need to speak to someone or require urgent help contact Lifeline 0808 808 8000.