Community Impact of Pieta House

Community Impact of Pieta House

The University of Limerick and Pieta House were recently awarded funding from the Irish Research Council to conduct a study into how communities are impacted by the opening of a Pieta House centre. The research project aims to provide evidence that open and visible access to services such as Pieta House can change perceptions around suicide and self-harm, leading to increased health and wellbeing within the entire community in which the service is based.

This wide focus is important, given that the real costs of suicide go far beyond the person directly affected, extending into the family, social networks and community inhabited by that person. The project will track suicide awareness, community social support and perceived availability of help for those who are suicidal or self-harming in at least two towns in which Pieta House is due to open over the coming years.

This is an important new collaboration between Pieta House and UL.   Dr Paul Surgenor, Director of Research at Pieta House, and an adjunct lecturer at UL is delighted  that the Irish Research Council has recognized the social value of this project and opportunity to drive forward evidence based practice.  It is anticipated that the results will inform development of suicide prevention services nationally.

The project is funded through a post graduate enterprise partner award to  PhD candidate, Michelle Kearns. Michelle, who previously studied in NUI Galway and Utrecht University, The Irish Research Council has recently increased its investment in projects which contribute to society.   Michelle is working on this project with Prof Orla Muldoon and  Dr. Rachel Msetfi.