By Maurice Garvey to

A FREE support group for people who have suffered the loss of a loved one through suicide, was launched in Park West.

The volunteer-run service takes place two evenings a week (Tuesday 4.30pm to 6 pm and Friday 7 pm to 8.30pm), at the Alethea Holistic and Healing Services.

Alethea has been providing low-cost counselling service to people feeling suicidal for the last two years but felt they had to do something about the lack of support available for people.

Psychotherapist Norah Finn, the founder of Alethea, said there has been a huge demand for the free support group since they began the service on November 27, with over 40 people declaring an interest.

“We’ve been talking about what we can do to support people experiencing loss through suicide for a while now,” she said.

“All of us, directly or indirectly, have experienced suicide. It’s devastating and we feel helpless in this situation. It’s on the increase, we have got to do something.”

Since they opened an affordable counselling service in April 2017, the service has grown from two therapists to five.

Norah continued: “We try to facilitate people who are experiencing loss as quickly as possible, most times we manage to do that within 24 hours for emergencies, and under a week in other circumstances.

“This free service is run by volunteers. Ordinary people with extraordinary hearts who have walked the walk.

“Most people who experience a close one’s suicide were not in therapy before the loss, and don’t feel they need that now. They just need a friendly face and the opportunity to share.

“If they decide somewhere along the line that they do need therapy, we’ll help them to access that, but this service isn’t about that. It’s about people coming together. A place to share. There are too many people carrying this loss alone. It’s too big to carry.”