Limerick Suicide Watch (LSW) has a mission to prevent suicide in the city of Limerick, by providing assistance to those in distress or suffering from suicidal ideation and raising awareness around mental health.
LSW was established in 2016 to help prevent suicide in Limerick City by patrolling the River Shannon and offering support where needed. The main focus of this charity is to patrol the river and then identify and provide support to those in distress or who may be contemplating suicide.
LSW started as a small group of volunteers who undertook night-time patrols of the banks and bridges of the River Shannon, in response to the high rates of suicide and suicide attempts in the city. Limerick’s continued high rate of suicide is something that could not be ignored and the demand for a service that offered this support became an obvious need for the public. Having someone to talk to and listen to is the main service offered by LSW and availed of by people in distress, with the aim of keeping everyone safe by utilising other expert services or family and friends.
LSW has grown significantly to 70 volunteers within the past year and they have completed 5,320 hours of patrolling Limerick streets on foot or by bike in 2020. LSW has helped save over 500 people’s lives since 2016 by providing support to those suffering. Often all some people need is to be heard!
Each volunteer is fully equipped and trained in how to deal with situations involving potential self-harm. The training includes ASIST, First Aid, Defibrillator, Throw Bag, and VHF Radio.
The volunteers are compassionate and caring and can identify someone anxious or in distress. They are trained to know how to approach each individual to establish the problem, with the ultimate goal to ensure they get home safely.
Suicide in Ireland is a major issue and there are not many services that offer the help that LSW provides. Whilst Suicide rates have significantly decreased over the years as awareness for mental health services & support has improved, there is still a demand for extra services and people needing this support. The work doesn’t stop there with LSW as they have an outreach programme that involves them visiting schools and communities to raise awareness around mental health and suicide prevention.
LSW relies on the generosity of the public to keep the service in operation, including the running of the group, life-saving equipment, training, insurance & base utilities. The annual running costs for LSW is €60,000 which goes towards providing training for each volunteer and the overall operation of the charity. To secure the longevity of this charity, they need to exceed this amount as the need for these services are growing continuously. LSW receives NO government funding & greatly depends on the kindness of the people of Limerick for donations. LSW raises funds through events, public fundraisers, company and private donations.
Messages from people the organisation has helped
“I would like to thank you for what you have done for me when I felt I had no one else to turn to. I was at the river on Monday evening and LSW offered assistance by calling an ambulance and talked to me while I waited. Thank you for your patience, positivity, and support that night. Please send thanks to those who came to my aid that night, I am truly grateful. I am doing a lot better now, my family & friends have been so understanding and supportive, which has been a huge help on my road to recovery. Thanks again.”
“I just want to say a heartfelt thank you to your volunteers who helped me and my friend last night. I was in a complete panic while on my phone to my friend trying to calm her down but when I spotted your volunteers with her, it brought me such comfort knowing that ye were there to assist her. She was extremely upset and your volunteers knew exactly how to deal with the situation, – they were amazing. They came back to check on us a few times to see if they could help which I appreciate.”
“I honestly can’t thank you enough. Friends talk and help each other out but sometimes it just isn’t enough. My friend was going through a tough time last year, from losing her mum to COVID and losing a friend to suicide, she needed help. It was a difficult night for her but thankfully she seems better today thanks to your support that night. Thank you so much.”