Residents help to lighten the darkness in their area

By Maurice Garvey

WHERE once a dark cloud hovered over Ballyfermot due to suicides and lack of mental health services, chinks of light are starting to appear thanks to considerable frontline work by residents.

Up to eight residents make up the committee of the recently formed Home (Helping Others More Everyday), set up in response to the rise of suicides and lack of dual-diagnosis services in the area.

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A charity football match was held raised €3,500 for Home. Included are players from both teams and St Patrick’s Athletic defender Ian Bermingham

The group is building momentum towards a big wellness event on September 8 in The Lawns, and have been surprised that their objectives have resonated with people not just in Ballyfermot, but in wider communities.

“July 4 was our inception, but it has gone past Ballyfermot,” said Warren Dempsey, a Home committee member, whose sister Andrea tragically died by suicide on April 28.

“With the video I did in conjunction with Pieta House (published last week for the Solas Festival), so many people have reached out to me personally. They said it made them stop and think about their next move.

“I kept a screenshot of their messages for Home’s weekly meeting at the Civic. They range in all ages, the youngest was 16 and the oldest, was a 47-year-old from Galway. This is the impact it has made.”

Since the tragic death of his sister, and that of “eight girls in our area within a ten-week period”, Warren (30) and other residents formed Home to help people.

They hold weekly meetings on Thursdays at 8pm in the Civic Centre, with residents invited to hear talks by industry professionals and speak to someone if they want.

“We want to give back, and have a couple of counselling services lining up. There is criteria involved, if people attend our classes for three weeks, we will refer them and pay for their sessions.

“The thing about mental health services in Ballyfermot was people were finding a closed door. My best mate went to hospital and was told he wasn’t suicidal enough. There is an underlying meaning there.”

In the lead-up to the wellness event, a charity football match was held on at Ballyfermot United over the weekend of August 17 and 18 – raising €3,500 for Home.

“It was brilliant, we got over 200 people there, raised €3,000 and another €500 from Larry Masseys. On September 6, we have a bingo night in the Civic.”

All proceeds go towards establishing Home as a sustainable and long-term outreach facility for people requiring assistance.

“We are expecting over 1,000 people for the September 8 event.

"Fifty musicians are performing, and everyone we asked replied ‘yes’ straight away.

"There is a group representing the LGBTQ community and an African Gospel choir. Suicide is not discriminatory.

“There was a dark cloud hanging over Ballyfermot at the time, but this has given people a lifeline and hope.”

The HOME support group meets in the Ballyfermot Civic Centre every Thursday at 8pm, and it’s open to anyone who needs support, while the mental health awareness event, called People’s Day, will take place in The Lawns in Le Fanu Park on September 8.

For anyone affected by issues raised in this article, help is available at Samaritans 116 123 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; Aware 1800 80 48 48 (depression, anxiety); Pieta House 1800 247 247 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (suicide, self-harm); Teen-Line Ireland 1800 833 634 and Childline 1800 66 66 66 (for unders 18s).

A list of HSE and HSE-funded services can be found at HSE Mental Health

 

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