The people who take part in Darkness Into Light are our most powerful tool

Now in its tenth year, Darkness Into Light has come to represent more than a walk, it’s a movement. Pieta House CEO Brian Higgins will be among the hundreds of thousands waking up to walk at 4.15am on Saturday May 12th right across the country from Donegal to Cork. Brian spoke to us about Pieta House’s vision and the importance of Darkness Into Light in achieving this vision.

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"Pieta House's vision is a world where suicide, self-harm and stigma have been replaced by hope, self-care and acceptance. Replacing thoughts of suicide with thoughts of hope and replacing self-harm with tools for self-care is something our wonderful therapists do, day in and day out, for thousands of people each year. Our biggest challenge, however, is replacing stigma with acceptance. It’s hard to believe that just a few decades ago suicide was considered both a sin and a shameful crime. The legacy of that shame has cast a long shadow over our society and the stigma of suicide is still a huge issue.

There are so many stigmas that can lead people to the point of suicide, things like racism, body shaming, homophobia and intolerance, we often directly or indirectly contribute, whether it’s something we say ourselves, or something we don’t challenge from someone else. Maybe as humans we have this tendency to feel we need to have an opinion on everything and we often share our opinions on stuff that we couldn’t care less about. For example, I don’t have any interest in football, but my two brothers are mad Arsenal supporters, so if somebody asks me which team I support when Arsenal is playing, I’m full on Arsenal. If we apply this to more serious and more important decisions, there are certain opinions that we haven’t really considered, but we still share freely, opinions that can impact negatively on other people. The more often we voice them, the more we believe them. If we can do the same with opinions that can make a positive impact on people’s lives, those opinions can influence people and can influence policy for a greater good. We at Pieta House have the challenge of informing and changing opinions around suicide and self-harm but we would not be able to do this alone, which is why the people who take part in Darkness Into Light are our most powerful tool to do just that."

You can register online for Darkness Into Light at your nearest available location on www.darknessintolight.ie. The walk takes place in locations around the country on Saturday May 12th at 4.15am.

If you or a loved one ever need help, call Pieta House on the Freephone number 1800 247 247.

Thanks to Peter from Humans of Dublin for taking the time out to talk with Brian.