Waterford’s mental health: Online counselling services report 1,000% rise in calls
There has been an unprecedented burst in people seeking online mental health support in Waterford since the beginning of the Coronavirus pandemic, with stress over exams and loneliness being the main areas of concern.
One service for young people has seen nearly a 100% increase in calls to its service, while there has been a 1,000% explosion on the amount of the elderly looking for online counselling support.
Ferrybank-based Minister John Paul Phelan has confirmed the Government will provide an additional €1.1 million euro investment in online mental health supports.
The funding is aimed at the young, the old and the health services staff who they hope will assist them in managing their mental health during and following the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This funding will allow the HSE to deliver a range of additional online and telephone supports to frontline staff and the general population,” Deputy Phelan said.
“Since this pandemic began, there has been an increase of 44% in contacts to SpunOut (the dedicated youth and young adult website and service).
“The numbers of people getting in touch due to anxiety and stress has increased by 100%.
“During this time over 50% of texters get in touch because they have no one else to talk to and almost half (48%) of texters get in touch because they want to talk to someone who didn’t know them.”
Deputy Phelan said the pandemic has left many people feeling alone, isolated, anxious and stressed.
He added: “Almost 16,000 calls to Alone with 77% reporting they live alone. Loneliness is a common theme among callers. There has also been a tenfold growth in people seeking online counselling through MyMind. Of these, 35% are seeking support for anxiety and stress and up to 20% making appointments to seek assistance with depression.”
The Government is offering a range of supports through gov.ie/together to help you the population through these difficult times, while the service YourMentalHealth is available to offer assistance and guidance to the people who need it the most at present.