Neville congratulates Joan Freeman on People of the Year Award

Fine Gael TD for Limerick and President of Irish Association of Suicidology, Dan Neville, has congratulated Joan Freeman of Pieta House on receiving a People of the Year Award, in recognition of her work on the prevention of suicide and self harming.

Last February, Pieta House, the centre for prevention of suicide and self harm opened in Mungret is available to assist people on crisis in the mid-west area. This service is important at a time of difficulty for so many people. Last year, 486 people took their lives in Ireland and Limerick has been identified of high risk of suicide, attempted suicide and self harm.

“I sincerely congratulate Joan Freeman, the founder and Director of Pieta House, on receiving this richly deserved accolade. This is an appropriate recognition of the work which she has pioneered in the prevention of suicide and self harm since Pieta House opened in January 2006. Since then the service has helped nearly 4,000 people in crisis and opened up two outreach centres and two centres of excellence in Dublin and Limerick.

“I have had close contact with Joan since Pieta House was set up and I have been consistently impressed with her professionalism, dedication and work ethic. Above all I have been struck by her kindness and understanding of those who are in a dark area where they are considering taking their own lives. The award is also recognition of the professionalism of her dedicated staff at Pieta.

“About 8 years ago, Joan Freeman, a practicing psychologist, closed down her own counseling business and dedicated her time to finding out how she could help people who were suicidal. She considered what would benefit them and how she could help them get through their dark time. After three years of research, she opened Pieta House in Lucan which quickly became a highly respected and recognised service for those who were suicidal. Having counseled many people in the past who were self-harming, Joan realised that this topic was never discussed and rarely understood, and she selflessly decided to devote herself to helping people with this debilitating problem.

“It is fitting that Joan should receive this award at the end of Suicide Awareness Week. Pieta House now has almost 40 therapists and support staff, who carry out fantastic work, and demand for the service is growing. I will be honored to be present with Joan, her family and colleagues at the Person of the Year ceremony at City West in Dublin tonight.”