North and West Belfast have the highest suicide rate in Europe.
Suicide is something that people are very aware of but (speaking from personal experience) do not understand or know the impact it can have on a family, on a circle of friends or group of colleagues until someone close to you attempts to take their own life.
Our Accounts Manager Malachy has been closely affected by suicide through friends and family over the years and most recently in July. In his own words:
“July 4th, I found out that my best friend Catherine (Cat) Mc Crory took her own life. It is very hard to put into words how sad I feel at her passing, to express the hurt. However, I try to remember how kind, fantastic and beautiful she was for me and my family, she was always there, and it saddens me to know that my son will not get to grow up with her in his life.
It angers me that the support that was needed was not there. That the mental health services in Northern Ireland continue to dwindle and clearly the little services we do have for mental health cannot handle this epidemic of death in young adults due to funding and regulations the public funding puts in place.
I have buried family and several friends now due to suicide. Mental health and suicide in this country needs to be a topic of discussion at the top of the Governments agenda and they need to act. That action will only be taken when they decide to take their seats in Stormont. Until then, they are failing those who need support.
Earlier this year, Steven received word that one of his very close friends’ son had attempted to take his own life.
“I read the message maybe 5 or 6 times. I couldn’t quite process what I was reading. He always seemed like a fairly happy go lucky kind of guy with many friends, solid family life and was always up for a chat.
This right here is the problem with mental health and suicide. There is a general awareness but no one knows the signs or knows how to deal with it should it come to their door. A large percentage of people aren’t educated to a point where it is of any practical use to them.
More people have lost their lives in Northern Ireland to suicide than we lost in the troubles.
In August of 2018, Malachy approached PIPS Suicide Awareness to create a new website for them. The intention of the website was to be a tool for those in need whether it be for themselves or to seek advice, refer someone in need or get immediate help. Our whole team wanted to work with PIPS and we kept our costs as low as we could but unfortunately, due to PIPS being a privately funded charity, they simply couldn’t afford to invest in a new website.
PIPS are privately funded to maintain their support structure, which allows the people in need to visit a counsellor as many times as required whether it be 1 or 100. Should they switch to be a central public funded charity, counselling sessions are reduced to a maximum of 6.
After an internal discussion, we decided to re-approach PIPS and offer our services free of charge to provide them with a tool that will aim to impact the lives of people that are in need in a positive way. We are absolutely delighted to announce that Big Pixel Creative will be working alongside PIPS in 2019 to develop their new website.
Ciara McIlkenny from PIPS said:
“The website for PIPS is important for us as it is an additional form of communication between us and the community. It contains all the information which could possibly be needed, our contact information, what we do and how others can help. Working with Big Pixel Creative will take a lot of pressure off us and allow us to continue our work helping others. We receive no government funding so the guys have helped us massively with creating our new website.
We know that we aren’t going to solve mental health but by providing PIPS with a tool that can assist them we hope that it will enable PIPS to continue the fantastic work they do and to help change the lives of many people.
Big Pixel are committed to helping local charities in any way we can. With a dysfunctional government not doing enough to help amazing charities such as PIPS, we hope this small gesture at a time when it is really needed will come to some good. If you would like to find out more about the project, please feel free to get in touch with ourselves or PIPS.