• Northside East

Cycle Against Suicide 2017 is to start off from Swords

Thursday, 20th April, 2017 6:00pm
Cycle Against Suicide 2017  is to start off from Swords

Pictured (from l-r) are Jim Breen, founder of Cycle Against Suicide; Brent Pope, rugby pundit; Charlene McKenna, actress; Colm Hayes, interim chief executive of Cycle Against Suicide; and Oisin McConville, former Armagh GAA star.

Cycle Against Suicide 2017  is to start off from Swords

Pictured (from l-r) are Jim Breen, founder of Cycle Against Suicide; Brent Pope, rugby pundit; Charlene McKenna, actress; Colm Hayes, interim chief executive of Cycle Against Suicide; and Oisin McConville, former Armagh GAA star.

By Hayley Halpin 

OVER 600 cyclists will set off from North Street, Swords, on April 23 and travel across the country on behalf of this year’s Cycle Against Suicide event. 

Now running for five years, Cycle Against Suicide is a signpost mental health organisation set up by Jim Breen and Colm Hayes, formerly of 2FM. 

“Back in 2012, Jim Breen approached me. I was presenting a talk show on 2FM at that stage and he had a huge concern about the level of suicide in Ireland and about the mental health and the mental wellbeing of young people,” Hayes said. 

“He came up with this idea to have a cycle. We would have this two-week cycle that would go across Ireland, promoting our message, raising awareness.”

Once a year, the cyclists travel from Dublin, up to Northern Ireland, across to the West and back across to the capital to raise awareness for mental health. 

The event is particularly aimed at schools, with events, projects, performances and motivational speakers visiting 28 schools along the cycle route. 

In preparation for the event, Cycle Against Suicide is set to host a Mental Health & Wellbeing Fair in Swords on Saturday, April 22. Mental health organisations will have a presence around the area and registration will take place at Fingal County Council’s headquarters. 

Following this, the cycle will set off on the Sunday morning at 10.30am. 

“We’re hoping just before that we’ll have an event where we’ll have the high hopes choirs, a number of speakers, a number of celebrities and then off we head from Swords to Drogheda, Dundalk and then after that to Belfast,” Hayes said. 

Hayes said he decided to get involved with the project when Mr Breen approached him because he had dealt with many mental health stories during his time on 2FM. 

“I had spoken to a huge number of people on the talk show to do with mental health and mental wellbeing so it was also something I wanted to promote as much as I could,” he said.  

“I think we do an appalling job of it in Ireland. We’re afraid to talk about it, we hide in the corner and the Government doesn't help either by underfunding mental health in such a terrible way.It’s something we really need to become more vocal about.” 

Cycle Against Suicide supports organisations including Samaritans, Tusla, ISPCC, Teenline Ireland, Tearnaige Suicide Bereavement Support and the North Dublin Drug & Alcohol Task. Hayes noted that there are many levels as to why the local community should get involved in the cycle.

“It can be quite cathartic for people whereby they have been affected by bad mental health or maybe suicide in their family or (among) friends, and it helps them because they believe they’re doing something that’s important,” he added.

“Everyone realises this is very important for the mental wellbeing of Ireland but at the very time the money isn’t pushed through properly to the mental health services.”

Read the digital editions of the Dublin People Northside East, Northside West & Southside here

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