Belfast Telegraph

Relatives remember loved ones who have taken their own lives

Over 450 deaths were officially recorded as suicide last year but the true figure could be even higher, according to a crisis support group.

The warning came as thousands of bereaved family members took part in Christmas Celebrations of Light to remember loved ones who have taken their own lives.

Nine events were organised by the charity Console which provides counselling services to people in distress.

Chief executive Paul Kelly, whose sister died by suicide aged 21, said: "The loss of a loved one is always devastating, but when that loss is through suicide it can be so much harder for the families and friends left behind.

"Christmas can be an especially hard time and our Christmas Celebrations of Light provide families and friends with a gentle and understanding environment to celebrate the lives of their loved ones.

More than 1,000 people attended a ceremony of song, music, poetry and reflection at St Patrick's College Maynooth.

Identical events were also held in Cork, Galway, Athlone, Limerick, Tralee, Wexford, Clonmel and Swinford, Co Mayo.

Geraldine Kennedy from Dunboyne, whose son Gary took his own life in 2011 said: "This is our Christmas celebration with our loved one - a chance to spend dedicated time with like-minded people who have the same grief and understanding as ourselves."

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From Belfast Telegraph