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Abuse counselling service extends hours until 6 January

Connect has fully-trained psychotherapists on hand to speak to adult victims of childhood abuse.

Image: Shutterstock

A TELEPHONE COUNSELLING and support service has extended its hours over Christmas to open every evening until Sunday 6 January.

Called Connect, it is a free and confidential telephone-based counselling and support service for adults who were abused in childhood. It will be open from 6-10pm each day and people can call Connect for free at 1800 477 477. From the UK, people can call 00800 477 477 77.

Connect Manager Theresa Merrigan said that Christmas can be an emotional time for people and this creates a greater demand for counselling and support services.

Merrigan explained to TheJournal.ie:

It’s a service for adults who experienced abuse in childhood, whether institutional, familial or community; emotional, physical sexual, or neglect. Normally we open from Wednesday through to Sunday from 6pm to 10pm, but for the Christmas period we are open every night for 19 nights in a row, and are open without a break.

Professional

The service is funded by the HSE and everyone who works on the line is a professionally accredited psychotherapist. There is a staff of five counsellors working for Connect. Merrigan said that numbers calling Connect are very similar this year to previous years. “What we’re finding is there are a lot of people who are ringing in who actually are alone this Christmas,” she said. “In previous years it was people with their family or friends who had a sense of needing to talk about things.”

On an average night, Connect receives 20 – 25 calls. On Christmas night and Christmas Eve, it received around 15 calls.  ”A lot of callers are ringing us for the first time and a lot would perhaps be waiting for services from the National Counselling Service, for example,” she said. “We have a lot of regular callers who we support throughout the year.”

Merrigan reiterated the fact that it is a professional service and anyone who rings is answered by a fully qualified counsellor. For more information, visit www.connectcounselling.ie. Connect is an out of hours professional service funded by the HSE and normally opens from Wednesday to Sunday.

Read: Rape helpline to see increased calls over Christmas>

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