Solace House, Breaking the Stigma of Suicide

By Danielle Gallagher

Solace House, a 501(c)3 nonprofit, is located in Long Island City and Yonkers, NY, was originally founded by Senator Joan Freeman of Ireland and brought to the U.S in 2014. Formerly known as Pieta House, a name change to Solace House in 2017 granted the organization the opportunity for growth in New York City and access to much needed services. Solace House provides free one-on-one counseling for people who are in suicidal distress, have made a suicide attempt, engage in self-harm or have been bereaved by suicide. On average they serve 70-75 clients per week through individual counseling. Also offered is family support for clients’ loved ones, group bereavement counseling and community awareness workshops.

Depression, anxiety and suicidal ideation does not discriminate, but it is preventable; therefore, Solace House staff strive to make their services barrier-free. Everything they provide is completely free of charge and confidential; insurance is not needed nor a doctor’s referral is required. They seek to break down the stigma of mental health and suicide by creating an environment where people are comfortable getting help for themselves, talking about their thoughts and feelings, supporting and finding counsel for suicidal loved ones.

Suicidal ideation can be the result of a traumatic life event, or something a person has been struggling with for most of their lives. The Solace House approach allows the client to begin therapy wherever they are in their life and their therapeutic model is client-centered and strengths-based. Clinicians are experienced in working with depression, anxiety, bereavement, and trauma. Each therapist is trained in psychodynamic, cognitive behavioral, and dialectical behavioral interventions. Their services are offered in a warm, welcoming, safe environment and treatment is tailored to each individual’s strengths, challenges, and preferences. All services are provided by Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSW) or supervised Master Social Workers (MSW) clinicians, free of charge, and completely confidential.

On June 11, 2022 Solace House will host their yearly Solace Sunrise Walk happening at 1040 Jackson Ave, New York Irish Center building, Long Island City, NY. This is a ​​5K Walk/Run to help support Solace House and create awareness for suicide prevention. The Solace Sunrise Walk invites people from across the country to embark on a journey symbolic of the path many of their client’s experience while attending their counseling services – making one’s way from a place of darkness and loneliness to a place of hope and healing. Starting at 4:00 am, in the dark & early hours of the morning, participants will walk together as the dawn breaks and sunlight emerges.

This extraordinary event continues to bring our community together each year, as we walk in solidarity, remembering those we have lost to suicide and joining together to show support for those feeling alone. Join this summer, as they continue to break down the stigma and create awareness around suicide and mental health. Tickets can be purchased on their website – solacehouseusa.org/solace-sunrise-walk.

Solace House relies heavily on donations from individuals, event proceeds and grants and appreciates any contribution towards their life saving service.

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