Mental health charity offers free support

If you ever feel like you’re alone, remember to Turn2Me - we are here 365 days a year - so says CEO of Turn2Me FIONA O’MALLEY, who tells us more about their free services
Mental health charity offers free support

Whilst mental health services have improved dramatically over the past few decades in Ireland, there are still so many barriers to accessing mental health services. Picture: Stock

A good mental health system is like a patchwork quilt – lots of pieces need to come together. We need compassion, qualified mental health professionals, and resources. We need to reduce stigma around mental health so that people know that they can say “I’m not in a good place right now” without fear of judgment or sneering. We need to see going to therapy as a strength, not a weakness. We also need to make going to therapy when you’re in a ‘good’ place the norm, rather than waiting for a problem to escalate. 

Someone telling you they’re going to therapy should be as normal as someone telling you they’re popping to the gym for an hour or two.

Whilst mental health services have improved dramatically over the past few decades in Ireland, there are still so many barriers to accessing mental health services including stigma, location and cost. Mental health has been somewhat destigmatised but we’ve a long way to go. Every person brave enough to talk openly about their mental health helps to break that stigma. These stories should be applauded and encouraged.

Location can also be a barrier for some people – getting to and from therapy can be an issue, particularly with the rising costs of fuel, if you’re tight for time, or if you’re bringing children to or from extra-curricular activities.

A third common barrier for many is the cost of mental health services. 

Mental health sessions with qualified counsellors or accredited psychotherapists can range in price from €30 to €300. For most people, this is simply unaffordable and therefore inaccessible.

Turn2Me, a national mental health charity, is trying to break down these three barriers. We have many articles on our website, Turn2Me.ie, that aims to inform people about mental health and help erode that stigma. Our platform runs 365 days a year and it has three core services – our first core service is our support groups. These support groups are on issues including anxiety, depression, grief and family issues – all for free for people living in Ireland.

Our second core service is our ‘Thought Catcher’, our online Mood Diary where people can track how they’re feeling. They can post their comments publicly or privately. If they choose to publish them publicly (and anonymously) on the Thought Catcher, other people can respond to them with positive, uplifting messages. This Thought Catcher service is monitored by trained moderators. We all know how ugly and toxic social media channels can be, and how damaging they are for people’s mental health. Turn2Me is a safe, online platform. We don’t allow hurtful or hateful comments on the platform.

Finally, our third core service is free one-to-one counselling sessions run by mental health professionals. 

Turn2Me can reach people across rural Ireland because all of our services are run through our website, Turn2Me.ie.

We are keen to support people suffering from anxiety, grief, depression or who just need a supportive online community from time to time. The counselling sessions are conducted by fantastic, qualified mental health professionals, and they can be done via video format or via the chat function on our website, Turn2Me.ie. If people want to talk about pressures, stresses, anxieties or any frustrations they’re feeling, we’re here to listen, 365 days a year.

As well as up to six free one-to-one counselling sessions, people from Cork can sign up to the free support groups which Turn2Me run on grief, anxiety, depression and relationship issues.

To book your free one-to-one counselling sessions, or to sign up to any of the free support groups, simply go to Turn2Me.ie and create a free account. These fantastic services would not be possible without the support of the HSE, Pobal, the Irish Youth Foundation, and the National Office for Suicide Prevention.

Turn2Me is a very small organisation, but I’m proud to say that we punch above our weight on the services we deliver and the impact of the work we do. The three services we offer come in a free format. 

The best thing about two of our services, our Support Groups and our Thought Catcher, is that there is no waiting list to use them. You can sign up to create a free account with us and within an hour or two, you can start posting about how you’re feeling on The Thought Catcher or you can sign up to a Support Group and get help on your anxiety, depression, grief, or relationship issues.

In a world with thousands of apps on connecting people, where you can engage with hundreds or even thousands of people on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, some people say they’ve never felt so lonely in their life. 

I implore anyone who is feeling like this to set up a free account on Turn2Me.ie and sign up to all three of our services. 

If you ever feel like you’re alone, remember to Turn2Me – we are here 365 days a year. We are here to help, to listen and to remind you, no matter what you are going through, you are not alone.

To set up your free account and avail of Turn2Me’s free one-to-one counselling, Support Groups or Thought Catcher, go to Turn2Me.ie

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