10th anniversary celebration mass for Pieta House where it all began
By Maurice Garvey
PIETA House celebrates 10-years saving lives this week and are hosting a special celebration mass in the area where it all began – Lucan.
The centre for the prevention of self-harm or suicide opened its doors a decade ago in Lucan, and expanded their services to establish centres in Ballyfermot, Tallaght, with five further centres around the country.
Founder and former CEO Joan Freeman closed down her own counselling business in 2003 in order to focus her energy into finding out how she could help people who were suicidal.
From humble beginnings in January 2006, Pieta House has grown to almost 180 therapists and administration staff, helping over 20,000 people in distress.
In 2015, over 5,000 people came through the doors of Pieta House suffering from suicidal ideation or engaging in self-harm.
Ahead of the 10th anniversary celebration at St Mary’s Church, Lucan, on Sunday at 4pm, Joan Freeman explained the rationale behind opening up the life-saving service.
Joan said: “Its hard to believe but 10 years ago, on a cold January day, Pieta House opened its doors as the very first centre for the prevention of self-harm and suicide. We had no idea what would happen nor where this incredible journey would take us.
“At that time, suicide was such a taboo, nobody would even mention the word and yet when news got out that we had opened it seemed that we had opened a flood gate of sorrow, fear and unspoken grief.
“But what I suppose was the most extraordinary thing was that this small organisation that started at grass roots was embraced and elevated to the incredible level it has reached today.”
Freeman paid a special tribute to service users, staff members and volunteers who “embraced and carried the organisation.”
She continued: “No government, no civil service and even no organisation like Pieta House could achieve this – only you could. You did this so bravely, creating awareness for us, fundraising for us – taking the lead in showing the world how to show compassion and love to people who are in suicidal distress.”
Pieta House Lucan are located on Lucan Road (phone 6010000), Ballyfermot at Canon Troy House (phone 6235606), and the Tallaght centre is for the moment located also in Ballyfermot at Mount La Salle on Ballyfermot Road (phone 087 9368633 – 6200020).
Pieta House are actively on the lookout for a permanent Tallaght location in the Dublin 24 area.