Darkness into Light Ringsend already making a difference

Pictured: Candles.
Photo by Kim Flood.

Lisa Callaghan, a Dublin 4 resident, is passionate about mental health awareness and has done a number of charity runs in the past for Aware and volunteered with Aware last year on their support line.

Lisa posted the following story on social media after attending the Ringsend event, her experience is a testament to the importance of events like Darkness into Light.

“I don’t generally post long status updates but something happened this morning after Darkness Into Light that I feel needs to be shared with others as it highlights the power and importance of events like these that can sometimes be taken for granted.

On the way back from the walk/run we stopped to get some petrol, a man in a van saw Dominic filling up the car wearing the Darkness into Light t-shirt and said fair play to him for taking part.

Dominic and the man got talking, and the man mentioned that suicide and mental health awareness was something that meant a lot to him and that he wished he could get involved more in events like this but it can sometimes be too difficult for him.

It turned out that the man has lost three close friends and two close family members to suicide over the last 30 years. I can’t even begin to imagine what this man and his family must have gone through in their lifetime. The man was a complete stranger to us but he opened up to Dominic just purely because of the t-shirt on his back making it okay to talk about his experience of suicide.

It’s events like Darkness into Light that show the monumental significance of the support of services like Pieta House. It starts conversations just like this one that years ago would never have happened in this country, because poor mental health was something to be ashamed of and regarded as less consequential than physical health issues.

The more we talk openly about mental health as a country, the more we encourage others to share their experiences too. Shifting perceptions and developing more understanding is still something that needs a lot of work as we’re all unravelling years of judgement and shame from a lack of education on the issue.

As Dominic said, it does your soul some good to know that in 2017 in Ireland two men who don’t even know each other can openly have a chat about mental health as if it’s the most normal thing in the world at 5.30am on a Saturday morning.”

By Jessica Ellis