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25/10/2021

Cuddly teddy bear to provide support to those in distress in Limerick

Cuddly teddy bear to provide support to those in distress in Limerick

It is hoped the teddy bear will provide comfort

A CUDDLY teddy bear has been put up in Limerick city, with the aim of helping people struggling with their mental health.

Pieta volunteer Mick Ryan, who lost his 22-year-old son Sean Paul to suicide in 2004, has been campaigning around the country to have the toys erected in places where people might need the most comfort.

Uniquely, each bear is fitted with a solar light, which he hopes will enable someone in distress to be visible, and also to direct them to signage where details of support are available.

Mick, who lives in Wexford, said: “I could have just put up a sign, but then I thought, who will notice a sign? People driving by or walking by will notice a teddy bear. The teddy bear draws people in  – people will want to know what it’s about. If someone is in trouble, they might have had a teddy bear as a kid, they’d hug them, and it could prevent them from thinking about what they are doing to do. They might have a child at home that has a special teddy bear for example.”

Mick started putting bears on bridges across Ireland at the start of the pandemic, and was amazed by the response, with many of the cuddly toys donated.

“People mightn’t be using the teddy bears for their kids any more, and they’d put them away,” he explained, “My son in heaven is giving me the push to do all this.”

Although only one bear has been put up here in Limerick, he hopes more are to come.

“A fella asked me once, what’s my goal? I told him I’d be happy if I get 100 bears around Ireland. He said to me, if you save one life for each teddy bear, that’s 100 lives. I just thought – wow, he is right,” Mick added.

Anyone who wants to get involved and erect more teddies in Limerick, please contact Mick on 087-9140261.

If you’re in distress, please call Pieta at 1800-247247, or text Help to 51444.

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