News : Helpline Launched as River Incidents Reach Worrying Level
Limerick, Ireland, Sept 21, 2015 -- Young people suffering with mental health difficulties are being encouraged to reach out for help "because there is always someone there to talk".
The message comes as Limerick city rescue services report a worrying increase in the number of young men and women being taken from the River Shannon either dead or in a serious condition.
Over a single week, local emergency services were called to help three young men in separate incidents on the river.
The body of an 18 year-old student from west Limerick was recovered from the river by divers from the Marine and Rescue service behind Henry Street Garda Station shortly after 2.30am on Tuesday, September 7.
In the early hours of last Friday morning, Limerick Fire and Rescue and the Marine Search and Rescue services responded to a call from the Corbett Suicide Prevention Patrol (CSPP) that a young man was seen entering the water at Sarsfield Bridge. The man in his early 20s, who jumped from the bridge while the river was at low tide, injured himself in the fall and was brought to safety by rescue swimmers. He is recovering in hospital.
A man in his 20s was rescued from the river at O’Callaghan’s Strand in the early hours of Tuesday morning after a person in the area heard a splash as he entered the water. Swift water swimmers from the fire and rescue service brought him to safety.
With the increase in river based emergencies, St Patrick’s Mental Health Services have launched the ‘Walk in My Shoes’ helpline, the first of its kind in Ireland aimed at young adults aged 18-25 years.
The helpline is staffed by experienced mental health nurses who can provide information to young adults about mental health issues and the supports and services available to them.
Director of Services, Tom Maher, said that suicide is the number one cause of death among young men and that 75 per cent of all mental health difficulties begin before 24 years of age.
"By funding a phone line that specifically targets 18-25 year olds, we can offer this vulnerable age group the opportunity to seek help early, which is a critical factor in the recovery process for anyone with a mental health difficulty."
Launching the service, Niall Breslin, better known as television personality Bressie, said that young men were notoriously bad at talking about their feelings, but the helpline would make that first step a lot easier.
"I know if I hadn’t have reached out to a helpline when I was at college things could have been very different", he said.
The ‘Walk in My Shoes’ helpline service can be contacted at 01 249 3555,
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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About St. Patrick's Hospital:
St. Patrick's University Hospital is Ireland's largest independent not-for-profit mental health hospital.
Published: Thursday, September 24, 2015