14 Aug 2022

Extra €1.1 million for mental health supports - Kilkenny TD

Funding will allow HSE to deliver range of additional online and telephone supports =


The numbers of people getting in touch due to anxiety and stress has increased by 100%

The Government 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.

Local TD John Paul Phelan says this 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 per cent 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," said Deputy Phelan.

“Almost 16,000 calls to Alone with 77 per cent 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."

Minister for Health Simon 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," said the Minister.

“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 know staying at home is difficult. This is why we have out together a range of supports through to help you through these difficult times. But 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.”

The funding will be used to develop additional online supports such as:

online life skills courses supporting people in things like managing stress and developing good sleep hygiene
providing new online counselling supports for members of the public and health services staff and volunteers
moderated online support groups for members of the public and for staff
expanding provision of telepsychiatry services for existing users of mental health services
creating additional supports for Leaving Certificate students

Minister of State with responsibility for Mental Health and Older People, Jim Daly, said it was clear that anxiety and stress are growing and will remain with us for quite a while.

"There is no doubt that additional online supports and interventions will greatly assist individuals and families who are finding it hard to cope during these strange times. I am pleased that additional funding will be provided to develop further online supports for people during this crisis," he said.

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