Irish Examiner Article

Teen-Line Ireland has been founded by Dublin mother Maureen Bolger, whose teenage son Darren took his own life three years ago.

The mother of three and well-wishers have set up premises in Tallaght, Dublin, recruited volunteers to man the lines, and forged links with youth counselling organisations.

Ms Bolger, 48, said: “It is vital young people have someone to turn to and talk about their problems and concerns because the hurt stops when the talking begins.

“Yet, after Darren’s death, I spoke to teenagers who said there was nothing for them. They felt too old for Childline and too young for the Samaritans.

“These young people are waiting for someone to talk to and someone to listen to them.”

Teen-Line, aimed at boys and girls from the age of 14 upwards, is billed as a confidential listening service for everything from exams stress to peer pressure and suicidal feelings.

The freephone telephone number, which is being funded by Eircom, is due to be announced at the official launch on July 6.

The national helpline will initially run on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights when most suicides occur, Ms Bolger said.

Latest figures show suicides among people aged between 15 and 24 account for almost one-in-five suicides nationally. Figures for 2004 show that 83 young males and 10 young females killed themselves, making 93 overall. The total for all suicides was 457.

Now Ms Bolger and her colleagues are hoping the hotline will prevent youngsters like her son from taking their own lives.

She said: “We are running it on a pilot basis initially but our aim is to have it running 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”

She said the issues of suicide and the devastated families left behind needed to be highlighted more often and addressed.

“The Government are burying their heads in the sand about this problem. We hear about (deaths from) road traffic accidents every day but more deaths occur every year from suicide.”

Anyone wishing to volunteer or to contact Teen-Line before the hotline opens can contact Ms Bolger on 085 7416019 or 086 3607626.