Solace for Mental Distress

Amidst the sea of night life lies a harbor for peace and mental wellness. Behind the doors of the New York Irish Center is Solace House, a suicide prevention center.

By Ryan Pullido

“You are not alone.” These words were the cornerstone of Danielle Gallagher’s presentation at a Mental Health Awareness Workshop September 15. The event was held to introduce Solace House in Long Island City as well as other centers in the area. The speakers for the event included Seamus Keane from Clann Health, Taylor Davidson from Heatwise Yoga, and Ciara Cunningham from Shared Space Sisters. Each offered various techniques to ease anxiety and promote mental health stability.

On the evening of September 15, a small crowd patiently waited inside the humble New York Irish Center, which houses the Solace House Center. Amidst the sea of bars and nightlife, the Irish Center is focused on helping those in serious mental distress. “Solace House offers free one-on-one counseling for people who are experiencing suicidal distress, have made a suicide attempt, engage in self-harm, and have been bereaved by suicide,” said Gallagher.

Someone dies from suicide in New York City every 16 hours, according to the New York City Health Department. A health department survey from 2021 found that 2.4% of adults 18 and older “seriously thought about killing themselves at some point in the previous 12 months.” Of those who thought about suicide, 14.1% had attempted it in the previous 12 months.

The Covid-19 pandemic forced everyone in the world to isolate themselves from one another and has heightened the sense of anxiety and depression. Therapists and organizations such as Solace House have found a way to circumvent the problem: telehealth. Solace House offers free counseling whether it be through text, phone, or even video call. Betterhelp, which says it is the world’s largest therapy service, is 100% online.

In the workshop, Taylor Davidson from Heatwise Yoga demonstrated breathing techniques such as the box breathing technique to alleviate anxiety and slow one’s heart rate. Seamus Keane from Clann Health suggested physical fitness and a sense of community promote mental health stability. “Remember that to take a change, all it takes is that first action step,” said Keane.

If you are having thoughts of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 (TALK) or go to

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