UL and Pieta House collaborate to evaluate impact of suicide crisis service on communities

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 in their area. 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.

“We place great importance on academic research in Pieta House and we strive to ensure that all our work is evidence-based,” said Dr Paul Surgenor, Director of Research at Pieta House. “We’re delighted that the Irish Research Council has recognised the social value of this project and the high level of work being conducted by our research department. The results will greatly assist our future development and will add to the research capital in the area of suicidology in Ireland,” he said.

The Irish Research Council, under the Enterprise Partnership Scheme, and Pieta House will co-fund the research which is being conducted by University of Limerick PhD candidate, Michelle Kearns (pictured above centre with Professor Orla Muldoon, University of Limerick and Paul Surgenor, Director of Research, Pieta House). Michelle, who previously studied in NUI Galway and Utrecht University, was motivated by the prevalence of suicide amongst her generation and a desire to undertake research that has an applied social value.