LISHEENS House received more phone calls from distressed people in the last week than they had any other week during their seven-year existence, with the Cork charity's manager saying that "people are losing hope".
Lisheens House is a community based mental health charity that provides free counseling, training and support services throughout Cork city and county.
Mick Kearns, who is the manager of the charity, said he had never before witnessed the volume of calls they received last week.
The tone, the sadness, and the worry which exists among people out there is frightening. This lockdown has been the toughest. It has been completely different from the first two which were similarly busy, but this time it has really hit home. The time of year has also played its part. It is a very tough situation and it is taking its toll on people, unfortunately,” he said.
Mr Kearns said a lot of people are currently struggling due to the restrictive nature of the third lockdown and the lack of progress made in the fight against Covid-19.
“I think the high number of deaths on successive days brought it home for people. Covid figures are also very high in every community which means there is a greater fear there now which didn’t exist for the first two lockdowns. The calls we received were across the board which was really frightening. People of all ages and sexes are reaching out to us.
“The vast majority of the calls were in relation to Covid and people’s fears about it. This pandemic has turned a lot of people upside down. People were calling in relation to the restrictions and voicing their concerns about when this will all end? People are losing hope. Children being off school has also added to their worries. The amount of fake news out there also doesn’t help as this frightens people.”
The manager of Lisheens House, which is based in Skibbereen, has reassured people their team is there to listen and help.
“We want people to keep reaching out as there are lots of people struggling badly. We always encourage people to keep communicating. We always tell people to keep expressing their feelings even in an informal setting and not to let their feelings get bottled up. It is important people know there is someone there who is willing to listen. Talking is key.
“We are always there to help. We would advise people who are struggling to pick up the phone and talk. It is a very simple process. We put them in contact with a councillor and they can chat to them via Zoom if necessary. There is no shame in contacting us. We are there to help and provide reassurance. A problem shared is a problem solved. We will keep talking and get through it. People need to reach out. The help is there. There will be light at the end of the tunnel,” he added.
Lisheens House can be reached on 023 888 8888.