Matters of Substance – Walking toward a world without suicide

When high profile people like Robin Williams die by suicide or addiction, we ask ourselves “If they can’t overcome their illnesses, how can I?”

The reality is illnesses such as addiction and depression (just like cancer or heart disease) affect everyone regardless of age, where you come from, or how much money you have. County Cork hurler Conor Cusack, recently shared on his blog “Depression kills but it is not here to kill us…. We have an incredible capacity as human beings to endure, adapt and grow through the challenges that life throws at us...”

However, to adapt and grow from these challenges, some of us must wade through a dark place. It is hard to do this alone. The IIIC’s Wellness Services provides vital programs including one-to-one confidential counseling for those at risk and Suicide Prevention (QPR) Trainings that teach people to become community gatekeepers.

According to the Surgeon General’s National Strategy for Suicide Prevention (2001), “…a gatekeeper is someone in a position to recognize a crisis and the warning signs that someone may be contemplating suicide. Gatekeepers include parents, friends, neighbors, teachers … and many others who are strategically positioned to recognize and refer someone at risk of suicide.” Gatekeepers include all of us.

You can do your part today. On Saturday, October 4th, IIIC will hold its “Together For Hope” Walk to raise awareness of suicide prevention. The Walk takes place at Pope John Paul Park Dorchester. All Funds will support IIIC’s direct care services. For more information, call Iarla at IIIC 617-542-7654 ext.32 or email: to register. A world without suicide is possible, one-step at a time. Please join us!

Steps to Suicide Prevention:

Step 1: Put these numbers in your wallet or smart-phone

The Samaritans 24 hr Help-line: 617-247-0220 or 508-875-4500,

IIIC's Danielle Owen: 617-542-7654 ext.14

Step 2: Attend one of IIIC’s QPR Suicide Prevention Trainings, and learn the key signs someone you care about may be considering suicide, and practical skills to ask the (Q)uestion, (P)ersuade them to not harm themselves and how to (R)efer them to the help they need.

Step 3: Walk with us or donate to our upcoming “IIIC – Together For Hope” Suicide Prevention Walk on Saturday, October 4th 2014 at Pope John Paul Park Dorchester. All Funds will go to support IIIC’s direct care services.

Commemorate the Constitution and Celebrating Citizenship: September 17

It is coming up again as it does every year just before the end of summer – September 17th. It is known as Constitution and Citizenship Day so named by Congress to commemorate the adoption of the Constitution of the United States in 1787 and to honor the naturalized Americans who become citizens each year.

Here we are 227 years later, and our republic still operates under the guiding principles of that piece of parchment crafted by the Founding Fathers shortly after the birth of the nation.

The Framers of our Constitution thought “the rule of law” was essential to the safekeeping of society and its civil liberties. The rule of law, which was first established in the Magna Carta in Great Britain in 1215, said that even the king has to follow the law. The rule of law calls for all of us – high and low – to respect the law’s supremacy and in doing so, we protect ourselves from the dangers of an authoritarian government.

The “Great Experiment” of these revolutionaries is embodied in the US Constitution - a document which most Americans have come to revere. It is referred to as a “living” document, short and easily read and understood. Over more than 200 years, the Constitution has changed through amendments – some 27 to date – to reflect the changing attitudes of Americans on issues such as slavery and women’s suffrage.

September 17 also celebrates and honors those whose path to U.S. citizenship came, not through birth, but because of choice. In this past decade alone, some 7 million new Americans obtained citizenship by naturalization, taking an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States.

Bostonians have yet one more reason to take note of September 17th for it was on this day in 1630 that the City of Boston was founded by the Puritan immigrants to America. Some of their descendants were to become instrumental in the forging of the Constitution 157 years later.

It is because of these events that U.S. citizens – born here and naturalized – will head to the polls for the general elections in November to exercise one of the key freedoms granted by the Constitution.

If you are eligible to become a U.S. citizen and have questions about the naturalization process, contact the staff at the Irish International Immigrant Center to learn more about taking this important step.


Q: I’m an Irish citizen who recently gave birth to a child here in the US. I want to get a US passport for my child before we take a trip to Ireland. Does the child’s father need to come with me or sign something to get the passport?

A: A child born in the US automatically has US citizenship, irrespective of the parents’ citizenship (exception: children of foreign diplomats). But because of child custody and support issues, the US Passport Office in the State Department has set out strict requirements for the issuance of US passports to enable children under the age of 16 to travel abroad:

1. Both parents must appear together and sign the application for the child; or

2. One parent appears, signs the application, and submits the second parent's notarized “Statement of Consent: Issue of a Passport to a Minor Under age 16,” Form DS-3053, authorizing passport issuance for the child; or

3. One parent appears, signs, and submits required evidence of sole authority to apply (such as one of the following):

· The child’s certified birth record listing only the applying parent; or

· Consular Report of Birth Abroad (Form FS-240) or Certification of Birth Abroad (Form DS-1350) listing only the applying parent; or

· A court order granting sole custody to the applying parent (unless the child’s travel is restricted by that order); or

· An adoption decree (if the applying parent is the sole adopting parent); or

· A court order specifically permitting an applying parent’s or legal guardian’s travel with the child; or

· A judicial declaration of legal incompetence of the non-applying parent; or

· A death certificate for the non-applying parent.

Note that these requirements apply to all US citizen children under 16, irrespective of their place of birth or the citizenship of their parents.

More detailed information about applying for passports, as well as any necessary forms, can be found at the US State department’s web site,

Disclaimer: These articles are published to inform generally, not to advise in individual cases. Immigration law is always subject to change. US Citizenship and Immigration Services and the US Department of State frequently amend regulations and alter processing and filing procedures. For free legal advice seek the assistance of the Irish International Immigrant Center’s legal staff at 617-542-7654.

“To live is the rarest thing. Most people only exist.” – Oscar Wilde