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Killaloe students prioritise suicide prevention.

Transition Year students at St. Anne’s Community College Killaloe have contributed to and taken part in a number of very worthwhile national initiatives in recent weeks. Through the Young Social Innovators project the students decided to prioritize suicide prevention and to give practical expression to their concerns for the wellbeing of themselves and others by participating in the Cycle Against Suicide and the Pieta House Darkness Into Light walk.

While initially the focus of their work was broad and examined issues such as obesity, addiction and youth wellbeing, it was the issue of suicide that the students felt needed an appropriate but powerful expression of their concern for those struggling with their mental wellbeing. And so on Monday April 29th last a representative group of 7 students and 2 teachers led the Cycle Against Suicide into Killaloe from Nenagh where a larger group of their fellow students, gathered at the Lakeside Hotel, to welcome the cyclists across the Shannon and wished them well on their forward journey to Tulla and Castletroy. This was a fitting follow up to the attendance by 15 students at the recent Cycle Against Suicide Conference at the 3 Arena in Dublin and the school’s designation as an Ambassador School in 2018 for the Cycle Against Suicide event.

Throughout recent weeks the students discussed the role of a caring school and decided to give further expression to their desire to do their bit for suicide prevention and so a sizeable group of them decided to become involved with the local Darkness Into Light event. In co-operation with the local DIL committee and the Killaloe Ballina Family Resource Centre, the students helped on the morning of May 11th, with setting up the lighting of the route and helping with the stewarding and tidy up afterwards. However, it is through their participation in the walk itself that they showed solidarity to the school and local communities as well as contributing to the work of Pieta House. The DIL event has taken place in the twin Shannonside towns of Killaloe and Ballina for the last 5 years and has become an annual event for the students of St. Anne’s Community College.

Cycling, walking, talking and remembering loved ones are practical and effective ways of creating awareness of suicide prevention and for the students of St. Anne’s a meaningful way to spread the message that it is okay not to feel okay and that it is okay to talk about it and that the power of hope is crucial to building resilience and strength.