Mental Health & the effects of the COVID 19 Pandemic.

As the impact of the global pandemic takes effect in Ireland its ramifications in terms of mental health will gradually emerge.  This is becoming evident now as the initial disbelief and distraction subsides and the consequences of Covid 19 in Ireland becomes more tangible.

Talk Therapy Dublin took part in an online conference discussing the above organised by Akidwa on behalf of migrant women particularly those in direct provision.

This discussion highlighted how Covid 19 is really hitting vulnerable minorities with disturbing outcomes, something the death rate from care homes really highlights in a painful way.

In the past I mentioned research from Trinity College which looked at the impact of economic recession & mental health

It is clear that many life events (which can bring distress under normal circumstances) are being complicated by the fact we are in this “new normal”. Births, deaths, weddings, health conditions, exams, new job roles and even retirement are being complicated by the uncertainty and limitations now present in our day to day lives.

Social distancing, self isolation and serious employment worries bring a risk of mental health concerns and also challenge our ability to provide face to face counselling.

We will continue to provide a counselling service all through this crisis utilising video and phone options if necessary. Especially for those self isolating or in contact with vulnerable people.

We are also on hand to support front line workers with the challenges they may face and will be waiving normal fees in this regard.

If we can be of any assistance please make contact.

COVID 19 – Pandemic Resources & Information

  • Mind the Frontline – new mental health resource for all frontline healthcare staff run by a group of Dublin Psychiatrists.
  • Some advice on sleep and keeping an eye on sleep hygiene during the disruption caused by the COVID 19 outbreak – This is an area we can help with and Talk Therapy Dublin can use different approaches including CBT-I to help clients whose sleep is being severely affected
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Relationship breakdown, Divorce & Mental Health

The upcoming referendum has made discussion of relationship breakdowns, separation & divorce very topical.

This article from clinical psychologist Dr. Maureen Gaffney gives an insightful look at the topic in particular highlighting the mental & physical health costs to couples.

She highlights early intervention as key, as early as prior to marriage. Many clients I have worked with have described situations where relationship counselling & mediation were left until far too late and thus were ineffective or in some case made things even worse.

If repair & healing is what the couple want to work toward together, helping them gain understanding on relationship issues & patterns of negativity as well as learning new less destructive ways to communicate are some of the things that can be explored in therapy. Support can also be very useful for those going through the stress & turmoil of a difficult separation & divorce if a decision the end things is made.

The risks of delays & difficulties accessing counselling services in Ireland

While mental health is certainly very much part of the national conversation these days it is disturbing to hear regularly how many aspects of our mental health service remain many years behind.

A clear illustration of this in a recent Irish Times article describes a situation where over 6000 individuals are awaiting counselling services through the HSE with over 1200 waiting 3 months or more. There seems to be particularly disturbing backlogs in the West of Ireland & North Dublin. Many of these individuals could be extremely vulnerable and may not have the resources to access private or alternative services.

Recently in my own practice I became aware of an individual who recently made a serious attempt to complete suicide but through complete chance was prevented.

This vulnerable person ended up being referred by a GP to the A&E department of a major hospital where they ended up walking out due to pure frustration waiting. They were to be contacted by phone as a follow up to this visit which apparently, unbelievably, has still not occurred weeks on. This individual & his network were not aware of the alternative free supports available even those provided by well known organizations such as Pieta house.

Luckily in this instance friends and family have rallied around and got the information & support required shoring up this deficit but for such a high risk individual’s life to be left to chance is extremely disturbing and seems to highlight the vestiges of an archaic, disconnected system with regards to identifying appropriate care for vulnerable people and their mental health.

Accessing Counselling Services in Ireland – the three main options for clients

A variety of people including those working in community & health settings regularly ask me about how to access counselling supports in Ireland, often confused about options outside private practitioners. This brief article explains the three main options available to clients seeking access to talking therapies in Ireland.

Talk Therapy Dublin is happy to provide free information & advice for anyone curious or confused with respect the accessing the right services or supports.