Ireland is in the midst of a governmental overhaul, both in terms of the Dail (Minister’s body) and the Seanad (Senator’s body), so there are plenty of political headlines doing the rounds. None, however, are as uplifting as this one.
Joan Freeman is the founder of Pieta House, a suicide and self harm awareness and support charity programme, which runs the annual Darkness Into Light event that we covered a few weeks ago. Ms Freeman was announced as a new senator by Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin and upon the declaration, stated that she would donate her entire €65,000 salary to the foundation which she established.
In an interview with The Journal.ie, Ms Freeman stated:
“I was appointed a senator because of Pieta House so it’s only right that Pieta House and the community benefit as a result of this. I’m only reflecting what the people of Ireland have done over the last 10 years by giving so much. It costs Pieta House approximately €1,000 to provide a programme of therapy to one person from start to finish so this money will go towards helping people who need the service.”
From Pieta House:
“In 2003, our founder and former CEO, Joan Freeman, a practising psychologist, closed down her own counselling business and dedicated her time to finding out how she could help people who were suicidal – what would be beneficial to them and help them get through their dark time. After three years of research, she opened up Pieta House, which quickly became a respected and recognised service for those who were suicidal.
Having counselled many people in the past who were self-harming, Joan realised that this was a topic never discussed and rarely understood, and she decided to also help people with this debilitating issue.
From humble beginnings, Pieta House has grown to almost 180 therapists and administration staff, and the demand for our service hasn’t let up. To that end, in 2015 alone, in excess of 5,000 people came through our doors suffering from suicidal ideation or engaging in self-harm.”