The organisers of Darkness Into Light, which aims to raise funds for the suicide prevention charity Pieta, have said that around 120,000 people registered to participate this year.

So far, more than €3.7 million has been raised. The money will be used to fund the charity's services that support people in suicidal distress and those bereaved through suicide.

Due to Covid-19 restrictions, this was the first time since 2019 that in-person walks took place to mark the event.

Darkness Into Light first began in 2009, when 400 people took part in a walk in Dublin’s Phoenix Park to raise money for Pieta. Since then, the event is marked across the country and internationally. This year, thousands of people in over 200 locations in ten countries took part in the event.

Tom McEvoy, Funding and Advocacy Manager in Pieta, said that it was remarkable to see people at the event this year.

"We are now seeing smiling faces, people sharing stories, people enjoying being out and walking at 4.15am to reach out to each other, perhaps to maybe share a story of why they are there in the first place," he said.

"And then to see the beautiful sunrise we had this morning was just a pleasure."

Mr McEvoy said that medically vulnerable people who were unable to attend Darkness Into Light because of Covid were still able to host their own event in their own way on the Darkness Into Light website, which he said was also very successful.

He said that last year, Pieta received around 100,000 calls and texts - up 40% from 2020. He also said that the charity's telephone and video therapy services has seen an increase in demand, up 20% on this time last year.

"So all of the funds that are collected come straight to Pieta and help serve the people who are attending any of our services," Mr McEvoy said.

"It's a remarkable tribute to the community of Ireland who get up in the middle of the night to take part in Darkness Into Light and to help somebody coming to our service who they will never know.

"Our services are completely confidential, so people who come to this service are unknown to those who are helping them and that's a pure tribute to the Irish community and they are helping Pieta continuing with the service, hopefully into the future."

Pieta House's helpline can be reached at 1800 247 247 while you can also text HELP to 51444 to reach a counsellor.