Dangerous spike in suicides among young Irish in New York


“All I can say is not to try and carry whatever burden it is that you carry all by yourself. Tell someone you can trust or even a complete stranger if you have to. There are also help lines with really good people that can help you through the hard times and start getting you back on your feet again.

“Trust me from someone who has been through the very depths of depression and has managed to get through it and find the way to smile and be happy again that it is really possible, I promise you. Don’t let people get you down and just be proud of who you are.”

Meanwhile, Donnelly, says there are warning signs to watch out for in people who are suicidal .

“There are many signs to watch out for,” she says. “Subtle ones may be withdrawal from friends and family, a dramatic mood change, a sense of worthlessness, increased use of substances, restlessness, anxiety, not sleeping, and the more obvious ones are talks of suicide, pre-occupation of death, looking for ways to die, researching them online maybe.”

Donnelly also warns that right before a suicide attempt a person is usually calmer.

“They have made up their mind at this stage that they are going to take their life so they are suddenly feeling happier and calmer,” she said.

Donnelly said if a person says they are going to commit suicide then listen to them. “They mean it.”

She also advises to bring a person to the nearest emergency room for a psychological evaluation if they say they going to take their lives.

“Seek professional help immediately. Don’t wait,” she said.

‘They really don’t want to leave this world. They just want to find a way out of their depression.”

Donnelly said it’s imperative for people suffering from depression or with suicidal thoughts to realize that there is a way to get better.

“They don’t have to carry this for the rest of their lives. There is help out there and a person can get better,” adds Donnelly.

The Aisling Irish Community Center and the Emerald Isle Immigration Center in Yonkers, the Bronx and Queens have social workers available to work with people confidentially.

“You can call us here at the center at any time. We also have an emergency number that can be activated by calling the center,” said Donnelly.

“If a person doesn’t want to come to the center we can go to them. It’s important to talk to someone if you are feeling suicidal. There is help out there and your life can be saved.”

The number for the 24-7 suicide prevention hotline for the Samaritans of New York is 212-673-3000.

The number for the Aisling Irish Community Center in Yonkers is 914-237-5121 or 914-237-7121. The number for the Emerald Isle Immigration Center in the Bronx is 718-324-3039 and Queens, 718-478-5502. Donnelly can also be emailed confidentially at elizabeth@aislingcenter.org

A Mass has been organized by the Aisling Center for all the families and friends of suicide and sudden death/accident victims over the years in the Irish community in New York. The mass will take place on Friday, July 31 at 8 p.m. at St. Barnabas Church in Woodlawn.