A remarkable act of community spirit that strongly resonated in Mayo

It was a remarkable act of community spirit for the grieving father of a young Castlebar man who took his own life to stand up at his son's Funeral Mass and deliver important words of advice to people suffering in silence.

Despite him and his family going through the most challenging of circumstances, Sean Mullahy found the strength within himself to offer the right kind of guidance to those who may be struggling in life for one reason or another and thinking of ending it all.

He spoke passionately of the importance of sharing problems with others by confiding in family members or those who are trained professionally to provide support and counselling services.

In an era when there has never been as many helplines or organisations willing to help, suicide is still taking a worrying toll on modern society, leaving devastation in its wake.

It's not that the services are not good enough, far from it, it's a case that many people who have lost their way, for one reason or another, sadly believe they cannot open up to others because of what they are feeling inside.

Sean Mullahy, to his credit, made the valid point that people feeling like that should always reach out because there is no problem or difficulty that cannot be solved with the correct help and direction.

He told the congregation at the Requiem Mass of his son Matthew: “Suicide isn’t pretty, and there is no glamour to it. Just ask for help. It really isn’t complicated. The difficulty in asking for help is 'who do we turn to'?

“Your first port of call is to the ones who love you most, and that is your parents. And if, for any reason, you can’t articulate to them, you go to a trusted adult."

These words cannot be repeated often enough. Those who feel they have lost their way in life deserve all the help they can get and should never, ever, be reluctant to ask. A problem shared is a problem halved.

Fr. Shane Costello, C.C., Castlebar, also spoke with tremendous compassion and empathy at the ceremony.

"Tragic death is never easy, but a death by suicide has a particularly devastating impact on the family and on the community. It rattles us to the core. It numbs us into silence and causes emotions and feelings to swell up inside us that we find difficult to understand or deal with.

“No one should suffer in silence, and no one should have to go through what the Mullahy family are going through now.

“Be sensitive to the needs of others and look after yourself and look after each other, because every life is precious, precious to your families, precious to the community, and, above all, so precious to God.”

As Fr. Costello articulated, every life is precious and every community cares dearly about is own people, sharing in their joys, their losses, their disappointments, their successes.

Equally so, it is okay not to feel okay at times, such is the nature of life's experiences.

But everybody needs to know that help is at hand if and when they need it.

Never shy away from knocking on a friend's door when a time of darkness descends because they will listen.