Yes, we are in the grips of a pandemic, but we are also in the midst of a cultural obsession that has been a welcome distraction: Normal People. Marianne, Connell and importantly, Connell's chain are the subject of so many WhatsApp chats – the series has taken on a life of its own.
Who knew that Paul Mescal's Connell and now, one of the most coveted accessories around (his chain has its own Instagram account) would reach such heights?
As a result, Mescal has donated one of his very own chains (he gave the chain on the series to co-star Daisy Edgar Jones) to raffle and raise funds for Pieta, the suicide and self-harm prevention charity.
The raffle is open from today until 2pm on Monday, June 8th, and costs from €10 to enter. The winner will be selected at random an hour later.
So far, over €8,000 has been raised.
View this post on Instagram
The charity said the postponement of Pieta’s flagship fundraiser Darkness into Light due to COVID-19 means there is a very significant funding gap this year. Pieta relies on the public for 80% of its funding to ensure they can provide continuous availability of their national mental health service free of charge.
Pieta, established in 2006, says it answered 13,705 phone calls and 31,139 text messages via its 24-hour helpline services in 2019; each call costs the charity €10 to respond to.
Please support if you can. https://t.co/zl2yYvdkeB
— Paul Mescal (@mescal_paul) May 25, 2020
Speaking about Pieta’s charity raffle, Mescal said the charity was close to his heart, and wanted to link the themes in the series alongside it: "Pieta is a cause very close to my heart, having experienced loss due to suicide in my local town while growing up.
"Episode 10 of Normal People also touches upon depression and suicidal ideation, so it seemed like a very special partnership to want to help those in similar situations. I want to play my part in helping sustain these free services across Ireland.”
He told Stylist the filming of the series' final episode was extremely challenging. “Filming the scene where Connell breaks down was brutal. They called cut and I was still bawling,” he said. “I wanted desperately for Connell’s pain to feel authentic. A massive percentage of people will experience something that Connell and Marianne are experiencing in regards to their mental health."
You can enter the raffle HERE
Main photograph: @PietaHouse
Related: This is what happens to Connell and Marianne after Normal People ends
Related: You can rent the Italian villa from Normal People on AirBnb, fraught romance not included
Related: Inside the Enniskerry villa that was Marianne's house in 'Normal People'