Mairead McGuinness, MEP and Vice-President of the European Parliament, kick started a special 6 km road race organised by John Mitchell’s Gaelic Football Club in Ardee in conjunction with Cycle Against Suicide on Sunday (11th September) to raise awareness about suicide in the community.
The MEP said it is important that we are all enabled to develop a deeper understanding of the issues and factors at play that result in individuals taking their own lives “so that we may be more empowered to help find solutions that will prevent people taking their own lives and also assist those devastated by the loss of a loved one.”
She said suicide knows no class boundaries or occupations. “We need to listen very carefully and we need to be a conduit to help for those in our families and communities who may be experiencing distress. Suicide is a complex issue and it doesn’t have any simple or clear pathway, often leaving family and friends desperately searching to try and understand what happened.”
She said more men than women take their own lives. However, there are huge variations between different age groups. Young men in their late teens and early twenties are often identified as being most at risk, but rates are high amongst men between the ages of 20 and 29 and higher again among men in their middle age, particularly in recent years. In every year from 2010 to 2013, the highest rate of suicide was recorded among men in the age bracket of 45 to 49.
Ms McGuinness thanked John Mitchell’s GFC for their efforts to raise awareness about what she said was “one of the biggest challenges of our age.”
Sunday’s event started at the clubhouse, Ballybailie, Ardee and returned via a 6km loop.