1. Support a very important charity
It's no secret that suicide and self-harm are massive issues in Irish society. Since opening their doors over a 11 years ago Pieta House have helped tens of thousands people in suicidal distress or engaging in self-harm. They operate centres across the country, with approximately 240 staff providing support to those who come through their doors. Darkness into Light is Pieta House's biggest fundraiser each year, 90% of their income comes from fundraising. The funds raised help Pieta House run their existing centres, and will aid them in their goal of opening more centres to ensure everyone in the country has a centre near them.
2. Connect with nature
Both exercise and getting out into nature have been found to help with well-being, but modern life doesn't always leave us with enough time to spend outdoors. Darkness Into Light is a great way to get some fresh air into your lungs and connect with the natural world. We recently highlighted five of the most beautiful walking spots in Ireland, all of which are venues for DIL. Even if you can't get to one of these, there are plenty of scenic venues around the country to choose from and that you can return to for a weekly walk once DIL is over.
3. Engage with the local and global community
For those of us who live in big towns or cities, it can be rare that we get to take part in community events. Darkness Into Light provides a chance to gather together with your friends, family and local community and be part of something big. An expected 150,000 people will take in this year's event, with people walking in over 150 venues on four continents. Copenhagen, Liverpool, Hong Kong, Vancouver, Sydney and Christchurch are among the international cities that are hosting fundraisers.
4. See the sunrise
It's not often you get to see the sunrise, maybe if you're watching a David Attenborough documentary. While you're doing Darkness Into Light, you'll get to experience the sun rising over the horizon and see the sky changing colour as you walk. There are few better ways to start the weekend.
5. Research has proven taking part improves your well-being
Last year Pieta House, in conjunction with scientists from UL, reported on research they carried out that found participants in Darkness Into Light received massive benefits from taking part in the event. Particpants in Pieta House’s 2015 DIL were invited to complete an on-line survey, the results found that there was a statistically significant increase in levels of well-being after taking part and those who have lost someone to suicide had the greatest increase. The combination of being out in nature and being connected with the wider community make it more than just a fundraiser.
Darkness Into Light, supported by Electric Ireland, takes place in 120 venues across Ireland on Saturday, May 6th, at 4.15am. Darkness Into Light supports Pieta House's life-saving work, allowing them to continue to provide free therapeutic services to people in suicidal crisis, who are self-harming or have been bereaved by suicide. You can find out more about Darkness Into Light here.