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Number of people accessing mental health supports dramatically increases

An extra €1.1 million is being made available.

Image: PA

HEALTH MINISTER SIMON Harris has announced an additional €1.1 million investment in online mental health supports to help people, especially health services staff, manage their mental health during and following the Covid-19 pandemic.

A statement released this afternoon stated that the funding will allow the HSE to deliver “a range of additional online and telephone supports to frontline staff and the general population”.

Since this pandemic began, there has been:

  • An increase of 44% in contacts to SpunOut.
  • 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.
  • Almost 16,000 calls to Alone with 77% reporting they live alone.
  • 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.

Harris said: “The pandemic has cause hurt, pain, tragedy for many people. It has also left many people feeling alone, isolated, anxious and stressed. The additional funding announced today will allow us to increase our reach and help more people.

“We know also that our frontline staff need our help more than ever. Every day, they go to work and place themselves in harm’s way to protect us.

“The HSE has begun some work with staff helping them to manage stress, to take some rest and how to build resilience. In the past two weeks the site was accessed by 1,200 professionals. This funding will allow us to help more frontline staff.

“We also know many people will need greater help and that is why YourMentalHealth is there to offer you assistance and guidance at a time when people need it the most.

“This funding is an initial step but will allow us to offer some support when you need it the most.”

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