ALPS (All Lives are Precious) is a suicide and mental health body set up by Ronan Gilchrist from #Downpatrick and it will be running a major event on Sunday 1o September to raise awareness and vital funds.
Ronan said: “This date is World Suicide Day and we will be organising a number of events in Downpatrick with the help of local churches. It will be a great cross-community approach to addressing these key issues of suicide and mental health in our society. We plan to run a number of events all on the same day.
“We will in conjunction with Eclipse Cinema be showing ‘It’s a Kind of Funny Story’ as a movie day from 10am onwards through the day. Lots of pupils from Downpatrick schools will be coming along to enjoy the film such as St Mary’s High School, Down High School, St Patrick’s Grammar School and the De La Salle High School.
“This is a teenage movie and will certainly help to raise awareness and will hopefully get discussions going back in the schools afterwards. We will have our pop up and be buzzing around the foyer at Eclipse Cinema to answer any question from the pupils.
“We are also organising a 10K run called ALPS Life Run on Sunday 10th September and there will be a shorter Family 5K Fun Run and walk of those less athletic so everyone can get involved. We will be doing this in conjunction with Downpatrick Boxing Academy. It begins at 1pm and registration is from 11.30-12-45pm.”
Ronan explained that the ALPS organisers are targeting teenagers upwards to adults. “It really will be a celebration of our lives and the lives of those who have gone on before us,” he said. “I’ve been involved professionally with similar health groups here up North and also in the ROI, where I ran a suicide and mental health group for Travellers, so this is a timely opportunity to reach out.
“We will be supporting local charity groups including the Downpatrick Romanian Orphanage. We will be in St Patrick’s Church in the evening and hope to fill the 800 seats at the ecumenical concert. There will be quite a number of artists and choirs performing from local schools and churches, the St Patrick’s Choral Society, the McClean family, Elisha Tumelty, Cora Kelly, Matthew Campbell, Mark McMullan and Brian McElroy. It is a programme filled with local stars.
“We hope that this day of reaching out turns into an annual event as there is much to be done to eliminate the scourge of suicide in our society and reduce the plight of the many who suffer from mental health issues. Our aim is to help remove the taboos around these subjects and get people talking so they can identify vulnerable people and help them, and even tune into their own emotions and self-awareness.
“So we hope to see Downpatrick buzzing on World Suicide Day so we can really make a difference where it counts. All lives are precious. Each and every one,” explained Ronan.
For more information or tickets: contact Ronan on 07801481013 or get tickets from Flixx Graphics or St Patrick’s Parochial House.