SOSAD Ireland first came into fruition in 2003 when our founder Peter Moroney started the charity after his son Simon died by suicide. In 2008 our first centre was opened in Drogheda. We now have centres in Navan, Cavan, Dundalk and Carrickmacross, with outreach offices in Bailieborough and Cootehill and hopefully in October 2020 a new outreach in Kells, Co. Meath.
We are a Suicide Prevention & Awareness centre and we work to reduce Ireland’s high suicide rates. As we all know suicide is not always the result of a mental health problem or a moment of distress. To be understood it needs to be seen in the wider context of a person’s life. We need a strong system that supports wellbeing in our community and we are so very aware that way more needs to be done to deliver a mental health service that is active rather than reactive. Currently SOSAD Ireland provides support for clients in several ways:
- A Safe & Comfortable place to talk and be listened to
- Initial Meeting [to establish need]
- Professional Counselling
- Bereavement Support
- Follow-up Support
- Referral to most appropriate Support Service available.
We operate a 24/7 365 day helpline for anyone feeling depressed, suicidal, anxious and who needs someone to talk to and listen to them. This involves our admin staff who, answer the phone throughout the day and those who operate the calls at night.
It is both an honour and privilege to work with people who trust you with the story of their lives. They deserve the best possible support and care and at a time when mental health is the poor relation in our health and social system we feel it’s imperative to keep improving the service we offer. To be the best we can be so that we can hopefully empower people to take control of their lives and for them to pay this forward.
Our clients range in age from 16+. Our youngest is 16 and our eldest are in their 90’s. We currently have 450 clients across our 5 centres attending our services and we provide free counselling to over 400 on a weekly basis. We are passionate about the work we do. Our service is completely free and we are financially supported by local and national fundraising events and by small funding grants from our local PPN and Community Groups.
With the onslaught of COVID-19 SOSAD finds itself in unchartered territory and like so many other organisations we have shifted the nature of our work in an incredibly short space of time to assist vulnerable service users across the community. Our priority is to maintain a viable service for our clients. Our counsellors are conducting sessions by phone and online via Skype and Zoom and our 24/7 helpline is also in full operation.
The topic of mental illness has been difficult to openly discuss over the years and many people view mental health with a negative stigma. With these issues becoming increasingly prevalent, it’s imperative that we move mental health to the forefront of conversation topics. In some ways COVID-19 has done just that and now more than ever we need to support people’s mental health and mental strength to help them through this crisis but more importantly to be there when we come out of lockdown and are entering a new and challenging chapter in our lives.
We look to the future, a new and more community oriented place to live. If this virus has taught us anything, it is the importance of family, friends and neighbours. As a charity, we pledge to play our part in making this happen.