Increase in young people seeking help from Pieta

Increase in young people seeking help from Pieta

Emma Dolan, Pieta’s Clinical Director said that while they typically see a decrease in the number of under 18s attending Pieta over the summer months, this year this has not been the case.

THE number of young people, aged under 18, seeking support from Pieta has increased by 42 per cent in 2021, and has more than doubled on this time last year.

That’s according to new figures released by the national suicide and self-harm prevention charity.

Pieta operates across 20 centres around the country including in Cork and said that across its centres, 24/7 Crisis Helpline and online therapy service, the demand for suicide ideation and self-harm crisis support has continued to grow.

Overall demand for Pieta’s lifesaving services has grown by 22 per cent since last year.

Emma Dolan, Pieta’s Clinical Director said that while they typically see a decrease in the number of under 18s attending Pieta over the summer months, this year this has not been the case.

“This summer, Pieta is working with more young people than ever before. And in the past three months demand has been significantly higher than in previous years.

“While every case is different, we know it’s been a very challenging year for young people, with the additional pandemic uncertainty leading to more anxiety generally. Children and adolescents are more concerned about their future and we have also seen a rise in body image issues. 

"Pieta is responding to this increase in demand by hiring more psychotherapists who can work with young people and more therapists to provide our free counselling services.” 

Pieta is currently working with UCD, supported by the National Office of Suicide Prevention, to research, design and develop better psychoeducation supports for parents of young people experiencing self-harm, and will be shortly launching its Know the Signs Campaign in late August.

The campaign raises awareness, helping people to recognise if someone close might be struggling.

Emma Dolan, Pieta’s Clinical Director said that it is “critical” people know what signs to look out for.

“It’s critical we all know the signs, for example; if someone is talking about suicide, saying they feel like a burden, withdrawing from friends, or are becoming more anxious. We encourage people to listen and be present, give reassurance, and to encourage social interaction and a healthy lifestyle. 

"We also always advise to contact or refer to an appropriate service for help and support, and if the concern is immediate, contact emergency services. Our crisis helpline is also available 24/7 and we encourage people to reach out to Pieta, help is here, you are not alone.” 

If you are concerned about someone or are experiencing suicide ideation please call Pieta’s Freephone 24/7 Crisis Helpline 1800 247 247.

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