One of the most overlooked symptoms of Covid-19 in Ireland is the effect it has had on our mental health. While the loss of loved ones and the destruction of our economy are spoken about in depth daily on the news and social media platforms, the toll lockdowns and isolation is having on our mental wellbeing should also be a massive talking point.
The loss of contact with friends, family, the outside world and even reality itself sometimes has had a knock on effect on peoples mental health without them even realising it. When physical health is put under threat, quite often the thing that gets pushed to the side is Therapy and other services people would usually avail of.
At the beginning this was due to the fear of attended therapy with 'group trauma' (the fear of going out in crowds), and these has had a knock on effect on therapy attendance in general. Considering we are still in a Nationwide Level 5 Lockdown, not much as changed in regards to the public not wanting to engage outside and most therapy services have now been moved online.
We would like to first ease your fears about therapy over zoom with some tips and helpful preparation methods, even if it may not be your preferred medium of choice to talk about topics close to your heart. Then we will list some Irish therapy services that we have found countrywide.
Making yourself Comfortable
One of the perks of Online Therapy is that you can access it anytime and anywhere. However we would recommend you try not to take this approach. Carve out a set time and place where you feel comfortable and ready, and if you have a roommate or family member you live with just kindly ask them to put on headphones or go to another room while you attend your appointment.
Some therapists have stressed the importance of patients expressing their emotions and feelings in more detail as they cannot read their body language as well as they can in person. It's recommended that you take some quiet time out to yourself before starting your session, maybe write your thoughts out into a journal or onto your phone.
In their own words, Mymind has 'created a unique movement for community-based mental health services that work towards giving every person in Ireland equal access to mental health support early, affordably, directly, without stigma or delay'. MyMind takes peoples financial means into consideration and quotes them either a price of €20, €30 or €50 based on their if they are currently in college, the amount of hours a week they work etc.
You can apply online by following this link: https://mymind.org/individual. They are currently offering an online service, but when in person Therapy sessions can resume MyMind have locations in Dublin 1,6 and 8, and around the Country in Cork and Limerick. Anyone around the country can access their online sessions
IOCPS (Irish Online Counselling and Physiotherapy Service)
The IOCPS currently offers an online therapy service for €60 a session: 'The philosophy of the IOCPS, has at its core, the belief that when it comes to therapeutic support, that people should be met where they are at; be that emotionally or geographically'.
You can apply for this service online at: https://www.counsellingonline.ie/online-counselling-services/online-counselling-introduction
Turn2me is an Registered Irish charity supported by the HSE, who are currently offering free counselling sessions online through their website. They rely heavily on donations and carry out many fundraising events throughout the year.
You can make a free account and get started here: https://turn2me.ie/landing/counselling/individuals