Shannon’s Hopeline was set up in memory of my daughter who died by Suicide on the 24th of January 2012 at a very young age of 13. Shannon’s suicide was a complete shock to us as a family and the whole community. Shannon never mentioned suicide and signs of suicidal ideation went unnoticed.
Shannon was a caring, sensitive young girl and a very funny character. She had a great love for children, art, comedy and music. Shannon talked about her future of becoming an actress.
Shannon did suffer from bullying, not physically but mentally. She was a victim of name calling, whispering and feeling left out. Shannon also had lots of friends. Shannon wondered why people could be so cruel to one another and she took name calling straight to her heart as most people do. As far as I am aware the bullying had stopped with Shannon in her last 6 months of life but that doesn’t mean it stopped in her mind. I am still unaware of the real cause of Shannon’s suicide.
Several months after Shannon’s suicide with a mind full of unanswered questions and thoughts like “how did I not notice my daughter was in pain?” I began to research, searching for answers. In my research I couldn’t believe what I was reading.
In 2012 the suicide rate among teenage girls was higher in Ireland than any EU state, while the rate among young Irish males was the 2nd highest as reported by the Irish Examiner.
As I carried on my research I noted the lack of services and lengthy waiting lists (3 months, 6 months and in some cases a year.) Through my own personal experience I observed how big stigma was, how no one liked to talk about the dreaded word suicide. People feared being mocked, judged and even feared being put into institutions, this had to stop. Currently in 2018 we have the 4th highest suicide rate in Ireland. In my opinion Suicide seems to be getting worse instead of better. I wondered why so many young people were hurting and felt that suicide was their only way out. I also couldn’t understand why I knew nothing of how bad suicide was in Ireland with young people. I watched the news, I read the newspapers and never observed anything on how bad suicide was amongst teens. I knew in my heart something had to be done to help the young people. People had to know how bad suicide was in Ireland and people had to be educated to stop the stigma. I also wanted to turn Shannon's memory into something more positive and not be one of just pain.
- Sandra Kelleher
To reduce waiting lists by granting access to low cost counselling services for individuals who need urgent attention.
To educate young people on how to look after their mental health, feeding their mind with positivity and hope, by building their confidence and strength.
To remove the Stigma around mental health discussions because Stigma stops people from seeking help