“Let people help you – it may be all that you need to see there is hope”
By Mary Dennehy
THE mother of a young man who tragically lost his life to suicide in 2011 has encouraged any young person feeling down, depressed or lonely this holiday period to talk with a family member, friend or a confidential helpline.
Tallaght mother Susan Coogan lost her 20-year-old son Dan, who was a talented musician attending Trinity College, to suicide in November 2011.
After four years of living without Dan, Susan told The Echo how her family and Dan’s friends are still “devastated” by his loss.
“We didn’t have any idea what Dan was feeling”, Susan told The Echo.
“He was a brilliant musician and a student in Trinity College with his whole life ahead of him and there were no signs that he was in any sort of distress.”
She added: “No words can describe the devastation that Dan’s loss has had on us, the heartbreak is unbearable and four years down the line, it’s hard to believe that we are all still standing.
“We miss him terribly and I would hate to see another family going through this, so I would encourage any young person feeling stressed, depressed or lonely to talk with someone – let people help you.
“Talk to a family member, a friend or a stranger. It may be all that you need to see that there is hope – and while helping yourself, you will save your family and friends a lifetime of sadness.”
After Dan’s tragic passing in 2011, his friends, led by Joe Cassidy, staged a swimathon to raise awareness of the life-lines available to young people, raising €7,000 for Teen-Line and Pieta House in the process.
This week, Dan’s friends and family took to the water of the Tallaght Sports Complex for a second time and staged a 24-hour swim to remind people of the support services available.
Organiser Joe Cassidy, who a member of Tallaght Swim Team was a close friend of Dan’s, said: “We decided to stage another swimathon in Dan’s memory after hearing of a number of suicides locally in recent months.
“It kind of feels like we are losing a battle with suicide and while there is definitely a lot more awareness out there since Dan passed away, talking about mental health is still taboo – young people do not talk about it.
“A lot more has to be done especially on a personal basis with young people and I hope that the swimathon raised awareness and reminded people that it is ok to talk.
“Talking will give us a better chance in dealing with mental health issues, it’s not the only solution but it will help.”
More than 100 swimmers took to the Tallaght Sports Complex pool over a 24-hour period on Monday, December 28, and Tuesday, December 29, raising more than €6,000 for Pieta House – with money still coming in.
Over the course of the 24 hours, Joe said that around 250 spectators visited the pool alongside a team of volunteers who helped run the event, with all involved expressing their thanks to Tallaght Sports Complex for its support.
Anybody who would like to talk to somebody can contact a confidential listening service such as Teen-Line Ireland on 1800 833 634, Aware on 1890 303 302, Childline 1800 66 66 66 or the Samaritans 1850 60 90 80.