CHARLIE Bird spoke this morning to more than 2,000 people who rose before dawn for the annual Darkness into Light walk
Over 120,000 people took part in the walks today, which took place across the country and around the world. The symbolic 5km walk in aid of Pieta House promotes suicide prevention and seeks to break the stigma surrounding mental health.
Charlie, along with his wife Claire and their dog Tiger, walked Bray Seafront with over 2,000 other attendees.
Before leaving, Charlie addressed the crowd briefly: “During my own recent ‘Climb with Charlie’ event, one of the candles I lit in the church at the top of Croagh Patrick was for all those who struggle every day, those who do are in dark places and have their own mountains to climb.”
“You never know when you might be sitting or standing next to someone who is in a dark place. In my own life I have met a number of people who have died by suicide and I have seen firsthand the importance of Pieta’s work.
“In the LGBT community in particular, I know of a family that has lost two family members who died to suicide, one of whom was homophobic bullied.
“The Darkness into Light Walk is a powerful show of support for all who find themselves in a dark place and I applaud Pieta’s work. And while I have my own struggles, I will continue to extend the hand of friendship.”
After the event, Charlie spoke about finding routine tasks difficult while continuing to battle Motor Neuron Disease.
“What really excites me now is the little things. I went to Dundrum shopping center to buy t-shirts but I couldn’t see them and was afraid to ask anyone for help. And that stressed me out. And I landed in floods of tears and walked out.”
The veteran news journalist, who climbed Croagh Patrick in April as part of a nationwide fundraiser for the Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association and Pieta House, has raised almost £3million so far.
The large-scale group walks and events take place at the riskiest time of year for suicide.
This morning, a spokesman for Pieta House said demand for its services rose 20 percent in the first three months of this year.
Denise Cronin, the charity’s CFO, said: “Many of these are people who are willing to seek help, but also because of the pandemic and the impact it has had on people’s mental health. These things are slow, they don’t always present themselves immediately.
“Our clinicians have told us that when the pandemic began, people were more concerned about their physical health and the economic impact of Covid. Only after that do they talk about the impact on their mental health. We would have seen a similar pattern during the recession.”
Together, participants from all over the world walked back more than a million kilometers.
The Darkness into Light Walk started as a small event with 400 participants in Dublin’s Phoenix Park in 2009 and has since grown into a symbol of hope and a celebration of life.
The event is now celebrated in 80 locations in Ireland and abroad and is Pieta’s premier fundraiser.
In 2021, despite the impact of Covid 19, Pieta House provided over 48,000 hours of therapy for people affected by suicide and self-harm.
More than 80,000 crisis calls and texts have been answered and more than 600 households affected and affected by suicide have been supported.
To contact Pieta House’s confidential 24 hour helpline call 1800 247247 or visit their website at pieta.ie for more information.
https://www.independent.ie/news/charlie-bird-joins-thousands-for-darkness-into-light-walk-saying-you-never-know-who-might-be-in-a-dark-place-41624472.html Charlie Bird Joins Thousands on the Darkness Into Light Walk Saying “You never know who might be in a dark place”.