‘If we help one other Daniel he won’t have died in vain’

Daniel McEleney.

Daniel McEleney.

An Inishowen mother, whose son died by suicide in 2004, has said it “eases” her pain to know Pieta House exists and that if, by raising awareness and funds “it helps one other Daniel, then he will not have died in vain.”

Mena McEleney and her family received the ‘Grand Club’ award from Pieta House and Darkness Into Light, Buncrana, at the weekend for raising over 1,000 euro for the event.

That figure now stands at 2,500 euro, and the family is very keen to credit their family and friends, as well as Mena’s friends in Star Bingo, for their support. Before Darkness Into Light took place, the family, from Clonmany, spoke of how they believed that, if Pieta House had existed when Daniel was alive, he might still be here today. Speaking to the ‘Journal’ this week, after taking part in the event, Mena and her family said they were “overwhelmed” by the walk and have vowed to continue to help Pieta House in the future.

The family all joined forces to take part in Darkness Into Light, including Mena’s niece, Siobhan Regan, who undertook it in Philadelphia, Daniel’s four young nieces (Mena’s grandaughters) who completed the whole route in Buncrana, his sister Kathleen and brother Shane and his wife. Daniel’s brothers Robert and Philip are abroad but really got behind the fundraising efforts, as did Daniel’s friends who donated and also took part, which made Mena “so proud.” She added they were all “so delighted” to be taking part in the “emotional” walk in memory of Daniel, pointing out how everyone who completed it did so for their “own reasons.” The family was hoping to raise a “couple of hundred euro’ for Pieta House and said they were ‘amazed’ at the response so far.

Pieta House is a centre for the prevention of self-harm and suicide. It has seen increasing demand nationally and there are hopes a centre will be set up in Donegal in 2017. Mena said she did not know about Pieta House until recently but was glad she now does. She said she believed it was so important as it provided a safe and professional place for people to talk to someone and seek the help they need.

She said: “I think Pieta House says to people, especially young people - ‘we’re here, come and talk to us.’

Her daughter, Kathleen, agrees and points out how Pieta House and Darkness Into Light is making great strides in taking the ‘stigma’ away from mental health, particularly with our young people.

Kathleen said: “No-one should be ashamed as there’s nothing to be ashamed of. People should be able to say: ‘This is the way I feel.’ Mena urged anyone who may be struggling to talk to someone or seek help.

She described Daniel as a ‘fun-loving,’ and ‘happy guy’ and said she got ‘such a shock’ when he took his own life. “He was the last person I would have expected,” she said.”He never gave anything away when he was on the phone to us. He lived in Manchester. We went over in June as a family and he had his business and a beautiful flat and I thought everything was going excellently for him. I think he didn’t want us to think anything was wrong - he was trying to protect us. If he only would have said something. He wrote us a letter and I feel lucky to have got that. Although it was hard for me to read as a mammy. I’m so delighted about Pieta House. It eases my pain to know that, maybe, with us helping it out, it might help one other Daniel and he won’t have died in vain.” If you or someone you know is self harming or feeling suicidal, go to www.pieta.ie/contactus.