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Joan Freeman

Pieta House / Elevator Programme

Awardee 2011

Pieta House / Elevator Programme
Seán Love
Niamh Gallagher & Michelle O’Donnell Keating

Pieta House is a crisis centre for the intervention and prevention of suicide and self-harm. They offer a unique and specialised service providing critical supports to people contemplating suicide or engaged in self-harm.

The Challenge

The high rates of suicide and self-harm in Ireland are issues that require immediate attention. The average number of suicide deaths in Ireland is 498, though since many deaths are unclassified, it is estimated that it could be far greater than this. Ireland has the 5th highest rate of male suicides in Europe. In addition, the pressure on people due to the recession has seen an increase in that rate in the last number of years.

The Idea

Following a personal tragedy, Joan Freeman,a practising psychologist, developed Pieta House,a crisis centre for the intervention and prevention of suicide and self-harm. Pieta House is Ireland’s only crisis intervention centre aimed at the prevention of suicide and self-harm. Pieta House’s service is provided free of charge to all, by fully accredited therapists.

Pieta House offers a specialised treatment programme for people who have suicidal ideation or who participate in self-harming behaviours. In particular, the centre targets the people who have already attempted to take their lives. Pieta House offers a ‘Unique Concept of Care’, an alternative to the usual way people who are in acute crisis are treated.

The Impact

Since they opened their doors in 2006, they have seen 4,000 people at their centres. The service has grown to over 40 therapists and staff in five centres around Ireland and they plan to open up further centres. For people in crisis, there is now somewhere for them to go. By working intensively with them, Pieta House brings them through a series of different types of therapy to lift their suicidal ideation, remove negative, despairing thoughts and exchange reasons for dying with reasons for living.

I will always be grateful to the staff and my therapist for bringing me back from the brink

A client supported by Pieta House

Joan Freeman, Elevator Award, 2011

Joan-Freeman-Pieta-House Joan Freeman welcomes a client into Pieta House

Pieta-HousePieta House Center

Pieta-House-2Joan Freeman with Michael Noonan opening one of Pieta House new centers


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