BY ROSE BARRETT
For suicide survivor John Boland, climbing the heights to reach Mount Everest base camp is the least he can do for an organisation that saved his life.
With his climb officially confirmed to commence on October 1, John from Blanchardstown is looking forward to the challenge, which he is dedicating to Suicide Awareness D15.
“That organisation literally saved my life,” said John who works in retail sales and delivery. “I was at my lowest point and attended suicide awareness for eight months, and this is my way of repaying them.”
The 51-year-old who is married with two adult sons told his story and suicide fears on a Facebook page.
“The FB site exploded with support messages and private messages. I was overwhelmed with the compassionate response. Even with the support of my wife and family, I couldn’t see past the blackness.
“But the professional counselling services with Suicide Awareness D15 saved me, and I came out of it a better person than before. I’m much stronger mentally now but I know I still have to work on myself to continue the healing.
“I’m a proud St Peregrines GAA man and love hill walking, swimming and cycling. I embarked on a 12 month campaign to promote SA 15 on social media. Along with Aaron Murray from Finglas (a big Erin’s Isle GAA fan), who turned to Finglas Support & Suicide Prevention Network (FSN) for help when he was low, we organised some fundraisers.
“The next one is a GoFundMe walk on April 24 and 25.
“We’re asking people to do the Wellness Walk at the end of April. Do the 5k walk on either day and upload it onto my Instagram or to @aaron__murray_ and make a small donation to the two charities.
“The go fund link, gf.me/u/y24ukq, is on both of our Instagram pages, with a permanent gofundme link on my FB page”.
However, the big challenge comes in October next when John will hike up Mount Everest.
“I’ve been hiking up the Dublin and Wicklow mountains twice a week for the past two years,” he said. An avid sea swimmer and hill walker, John states so many people have reached out to him to look for help after reading his own story of depression.
“I’ve connected them with Suicide Awareness D 15 services who will arrange a professional, trained counsellor to help.
“I’ve embarked on an educational path, and completed courses with Aware, the Wellness Centre in Pembroke St, a task course with Dublin City Council and I’m currently doing the Science of Health & Happiness through the RCSI.
“Undertaking DarknessIntoHeight, i.e. climbing Mount Everest for Suicide Awareness D 15 is the next challenge, as they saw me through my lowest times mentally.”
Check out John Boland on FB and Instagram for further details. Contact Suicide Awareness D15* helpline: 085 818 2090.
Suicide Awareness D15 was founded about 12 years ago by Lilian Parker. It is a voluntary group dedicated to preventing suicides, supporting people with suicidal tendencies or coping with bereavement. Every year, the calls have increased.