Lisheens House was founded by Bantry native Noreen Murphy in 2014. This is her story:
“My story begins in 2007 when my then 39-year-old husband and father of my children, Donal, took his own life. He was a hard working family man who appeared to have everything, but who secretly fought a daily battle with depression for over two years. Tragically, he lost that battle on the 9th September 2007. Needless to say the effect this had on the three children and myself was devastating.
Up to the day of his death I had tried to get Donal to access the existing mental health services that were available in our locality. However, he refused to go to the hospital. He felt that the formal setting would only add to his anxiety and heighten the turmoil going on in his mind.
After Donal’s death I had to pick up the pieces, to try to resume a normal life for both myself and the children. It took more than two years to feel I was beginning to make progress, and even now, “normal” life has not returned for my youngest son. He dropped out of secondary education, and continues to struggle. His older brothers coped somewhat better, but the slightest scratch at the surface would reveal a lot of pain.
I had to return to work to support the family, but in my spare time and school holidays I started researching and campaigning for the provision of accessible services that Donal lacked in his time of need. I felt that what would have helped him, and perhaps many others, was a place to go that would have just befriended him and allowed him to talk.
After years of this I came to the stark realisation that I was somewhat banging my head against a brick wall. If I wanted anything to change then I had to do something about it myself, and in 2014 I formed the Lisheens House Suicide Prevention Charity, naming it after the house we built as our family home, set in the village of Kealkill outside Bantry in beautiful West Cork. Donal loved his home and I know that if he could have seen beyond his pain he would not have done what he did to himself and to his family. I felt it fitting that others would find peace and comfort under the name of the place he had worked so hard to create.”