Suicide or Survive
SOS is a forward-thinking organisation that believes firmly in the power of change.Collaboration is key to raising awareness of mental health issues and breaking down the stigma that exists in Ireland today. We are leading the way by actively engaging with key stakeholders such as the Health Service Executive, Government Departments, non-statutory agencies and carers to drive positive social change.
SOS’s Eden Programme fills a gap in the current service offering and is a quality recovery service which offers hope to people who have contemplated suicide. The Eden Programme is founded in the recovery concept and puts the user first. We are committed to developing this programme further to make it accessible to those that need it most.
SOS is focussed on being part of the solution rather than the problem. Using our expertise in the corporate, community and voluntary sectors, we have developed the Wellness Workshops which aim to educate all generations on how to manage our mental health. Empowering people will lead to a society where people embrace their mental health wellness and those with difficulties are treated with dignity and respect and experience kindness, growth, respect, dignity and love.
SOS is an active partner of See Change - Ireland’s new national partnership to reduce stigma and challenge discrimination associated with mental health problems. See Change is government led and is an alliance of organisations including the Health Service Executive, Government Departments, non-statutory agencies, service users and carers and other stakeholders – all working together through the National Stigma Reduction Partnership to bring about positive change in public attitudes and behaviour towards people with mental health problems.
Who we Are
Caroline McGuigan – CEO/Founder
* CEO – Suicide or Survive
* Co-Ordinator – No Panic Ireland
* Qualified psychotherapist (Trinity College)
* Tutor/Facilitator (Maynooth College and Community Projects)
* Mental Health Advocate
* Amnesty International – Mental Health as a Human Rights Issue
* Member of the Expert by Experience Advisory Group
* Trained WRAP Facilitator
Caroline has experience of personally attempting suicide and the limited services provided. She spent 8 years as a user of the psychiatric services, leaving her with an in-depth knowledge of the medical model, how and why a person is diagnosed and the treatment they may receive in Ireland. She received a Social Entrepreneurs Ireland Level 1 Award in 2006, and a Level 2 Award in 2007.
Caroline was part of a very powerful documentary “I See a Darkness”
In the programme, Caroline along with her husband John pieces together her journey towards her suicide attempt and her subsequent recovery. Today, Caroline has two young children and has become a trained counsellor. Her story, alongside the moving testimony of her husband and friends, is a ray of hope in this dark arena.
Louise Corcoran – Personal Assistant/Administration
* Qualified computer tutor & web design
* Over 15 experience in Office Administration ranging from Sales & Marketing, PA and IT in both corporate and community sectors.
Reason for involvement in SOS, having a personal experience around panic attacks I feel that everyone can and will recover from being unwell once they have the support and help from friends, family or whoever it may be to guide them. I believe that SOS provides much needed programmes to help people look after their mental health and wellness.
Paula Lawlor – Coordinator of Eden Programme
* Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapist
* Founder member, former Chairperson and current Director of Development with the Institute for Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
* Former Senior Psychologist in NLN and Deputy Director of Research and Innovation with the Rehab Group
Reason for involvement with SOS: I first met Caroline 10 years ago when she was developing the Eden Programme from her kitchen table. I was struck by her passion for, and commitment to changing the way mental health services are configured and delivered based on her own lived experience. I have worked with people experiencing mental health difficulties in a range of settings over a long number of years and have seen how, with services and supports (both formal and informal) that are tailored to meet their specific needs and the encouragement and space to find their own way, they can and do recover. I believe that SOS with its focus on creating an environment where people can find their own voice and develop their own inner strength is a very powerful force for change in the area of mental health and suicide prevention.
Patricia Allen-Garrett – Facilitator Eden Programme
* Facilitator, Eden Programme
* Psychotherapist, Hesed House
* Core Tutor, Dublin Therapy & Counselling Centre
* Post Graduate Diploma in Psychotherapy and Counselling
* BS(c) (Hons) Psychology
* Certificate in Sensori-Motor Trauma Therapy
Reason for involvement in SOS: As a psychotherapist I work with people who show great courage in working through difficult times in their lives – none more so than those who are struggling to stay alive. I believe strongly that the Eden Programme with its emphasis on both education and dialogue can make a difference in the lives of people who have contemplated or attempted suicide. I lost my best friend, Kieran, to suicide in 2008 and understand, on a personal level, the pain that such a loss brings. I am passionate about breaking down the stigma of suicide and am privileged to work with amazing people in SOS.
Alan McLean (Accountant) Director and Chairperson
* Graduate of DCU – BA (Accounting and Finance)
* Fellow of the institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland
* Partner in Buggy McLean Chartered Accountancts, specialising in Corporate Recovery soluntions
* Previous held Finance Direcrtor and Managing Director roles in a number of Irish Businesses
Reason for being involved in SOS – I believe that SOS provides vital services in an area sadly under-resourced by the public health system, while at the same time maintaining a personalised and compassionate approach which encourages those effected by Suicide to engage and seek help
Helen Allen – Director, Secretary
* Founded and participated in Community Co-op.
* Member of Women’s Action Network
Reason for involvement in SOS: “I have personally been affected by an attempted suicide and the impact it has on a family. SOS’s ethos of respect, genuineness, understanding and the opportunity for an individual to look at life rather than death makes sense”
John Pender – Director
* Qualified Accupuncturist
* 20 years experience in the motor trade ranging from professional trade to business owner
Reason for involvement in SOS – passionate belief that given the right environment people can take back control of their own lives
Olivia Hunt – Director
* Passionate about promoting mental wellness
* Currently studying Counselling and Psychotherapy
* Professional Certificate in Financial Advice
* 6 years experience in the Financial Sector
Reason for involvement with SOS: Suicide Prevention is very dear to my heart since losing my brother Derek to suicide in 2000. Losing a precious life through suicide is a truly devastating experience for a family and a community. It’s a harsh reality but the stigma that exists around the word suicide & mental illness is a silent killer in Ireland. I first came across SOS online and the charity instantly stood out to me. I felt relieved in a sense at finding SOS as they fill a major gap in Ireland’s mental health area with their uniqueness. SOS empowers people to take back control of their own lives through the different services they provide. It is a privilege to be part of such an amazing charity & to work with incredibly passionate people who are persistent in their efforts to challenge the stigma surrounding mental health along with any misconceptions associated to it.
Natalie Hodgess – Director
* Marketing Manager currently responsible for the Vodafone Ireland Foundation
* 15 years marketing experience spanning legal, telecoms and charity sectors in UK and Ireland
Reason for involvement with SOS: From the moment I started working with Caroline and the team at SOS on the Talk, Listen, Change programme, I was inspired by the work they do and the practical but caring approach they take. Ireland is losing too many bright young people to suicide and I feel confident that organisations such as SOS can reduce the 2 per day statistic dramatically. I would like to be part of that solution.
Miriam Fahey – Bookkeeper
‘Someone has to do the boring bits’
Reason for involvement: I believe in the ethos of SOS, their essential support through the Eden programme and the promotion of wellness in our everyday lives.
The Advisory Panel has continuously supported and encouraged SOS’s Founder in the work of SOS. Its members are:
Social Entrepreneurs Ireland
Denis O’ Brien, Founder, Communicorp Group
Maria Mulcahy, Iris O’Brien Foundation
Andrina Moore, Iris O’Brien Foundation
Maurice Healy, CEO, The Healy Group
Eleanor Farrell – Vodafone Ireland
Deirdre Moore – AIB
Robert Carley – Strategic Consultant
For a living Robert is a motivational business consultant but for a life he is “Dad” to five amazing young adults. Robert delights in sharing the lessons he has learned in life (through both good times and bad times) and is convinced that learning through laughter is a great recipe for change. Having worked in the corporate world for over 30 years, his experience and knowledge of the pressures and pleasures of gaining a work-life balance have been a major part into his input on the Wellness Workshops.
Caroline Douglas – PR Consultant
Caroline is a communications expert with over 20 years experience within the Communications and Public Relations departments of leading technology and banking organisations. She has direct responsibility for areas including Media Relations, Corporate Social Responsibility, Sponsorship and Issues & Crisis Management as well as Event Management. Caroline relishes using all of these skills at Suicide or Survive to help the organisation raise its profile and challenge mental health issues in Ireland.
Organisation Development and Advisory Board
* Pearse Finnegan
* Trudy Hayes
* Michael Nash
* Mick Coughlan
* Nicola Byrne
* Registered Psychologist with the Psychological Society of Ireland for the past 20 years
* Associate Fellow of the Society
* Graduated from UCD 86 and completed Masters Degree in 88
* Attended Trinity in 2000 and completed graduate Dip. In Cognitive Behaviour Therapy
* Currently the Principal Psychologist in National Learning Network
Reason for involvement in SOS: Believe totally in the vision of providing community services for people to both educate and prevent against the escalating reality of numbers committing suicide. Need to prevent through dialogue and education.
We are extremely fortunate to have the input of the above organisation and individuals. Their involvement is invaluable to the development of SOS but above all that their willingness to be a part of turning the tide of suicide is priceless.