Thursday, 8 May 2014

Cycle Against Suicide: 'It's OK not to feel OK'!

‘It’s OK not to feel OK, and it’s absolutely OK to ask for help!’ The slogan endorsed by ‘Cycle Against Suicide 2014′ in Ireland.
Suicide is currently claiming the lives of approximately 800+ people annually in Ireland. These figures include mothers, fathers, husbands and wives, sons and daughters, sisters and brothers, best friends and colleagues. Unfortunately we all know someone, young or old, have have taken their own life by suicide. Sadly our children also nearly all know someone who has done so as well. The statistics are shocking. The aftermath, a pool of sadness.

Cycle Against Suicide is a voluntary organisation that aims to: ‘Raise awareness of this prevalent issue: Offer reassurance that it’s OK not to feel OK, and it’s absolutely OK to ask for help: Direct people in need to where this critical help is available both locally and nationally’.
Cycle Against Suicide is an initiative under the direction of Irish entrepreneur, Jim Breen. Following Breen’s appearance on RTE’s The Secret Millionaire Programme, this initiative came about. The principle objective of the cycle is to raise awareness of the help and support networks that are available in Ireland for anyone fighting depression, self harm, at risk of suicide or those bereaved by suicide.
The cycle got underway last Monday, April 28th and will finish this coming Sunday on May 11th. It will have covered 1400k when it finishes in Dublin on Sunday.
Sadly yesterday brought devastation to this years Cycle. A motorcycle marshal, Brenawn O’Connell, died during a collision in Donegal yesterday morning. The 69 year old’s family today asked the Cycle to continue and promote the much needed awareness about suicide. Sincere condolences to the O’Connell family, and in particular to Brenawn’s wife Kerry and his children Sadhbh, Kerry Óg and Tim.

Today our local secondary school in Moville welcomed a number of the Cycle team to the college. The cycle was broken for 24 hours so the group walked together up the school avenue, arm in arm, shoulder to shoulder, wearing black ribbons on their arms. It was only a short walk, but possibly one of the toughest parts of their two week journey. The community, students and staff of Moville Community College welcomed the group with much heartfelt compassion. A guard of honour clapped this contingent of the Cycle Against Suicide and everyone felt the great surge of emotion that the occasion experienced. Emotions were running high for everyone.
A number of the group spoke to the College students, staff and parents and expressed their deep grief at losing their friend yesterday. They also talked openly about depression and suicide. The motto of ‘it’s ok not to feel ok’ was greatly emphasised. Young and old related to the spoken words. The written words will remain on the school ‘Cycle Against Suicide’ wall for some time to come. Jim Breen’s written words will surely inspire many, ‘I’ve heard its ok not to feel ok: thank god for that today’. A very tough and heartrending experience is surging through the entire Cycle Against Suicide camp at the present time. But this group are doing amazing work.


‘We believe that the best way to help fight the Battle Against Suicide in Ireland is to do it together. Our Mental Health is just like our physical health – it is something we have to be mindful of – and from time to time we have to ask for help – and that is OK. Exercise helps…Talking helps…So together let’s Cycle Against Suicide. We believe that by cycling, together, around Ireland that this powerful message will be delivered.’
Everyone has some connection with suicide, self harm or depression. So surely we must all learn to encourage ‘talk’ and to work together to break this cycle of suicide which is permeating our country at present.
Together, shoulder to shoulder, we can Break the Cycle of Suicide on the island of Ireland!
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