250 cyclists on cross-country trek for suicide awareness

250 cyclists are taking on a 200km journey across the country today in aid of suicide awareness - among them is Celebrity chef Derry Clarke.

The Console East to West cycle kicked is due to arrive in Galway's Eyre Square by half past six this evening after leaving Celbridge Co Kildare at 6am.

Clarke, who led the cycle, had a heart bypass just six months ago. He released white doves at the start of the race.

The group will be joined at 2.30pm by Finbarr Walsh - father of the late Donal Walsh, a suicide awareness activist.

Today's cycle coincides with the launch of the charity's new free phone number - 1800 247 247.

Paul Kelly is founder of Console, the national suicide prevention charity.

He said the stigma surrounding mental health is lessening thanks to awareness events like this.

"We all experience crisis in our lives - it's part of our shared humanity."

"The important thing is not go get stuck there - to seek help … there's more people contacting us now, and I think maybe that's an indication that the stigma is beginning to [vanish]."

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