WHEN Cork Counselling Services (CCS) was founded in 1982, the south of Ireland had no culture of professional counselling and psychotherapy, and awareness around mental health treatment was limited.
To put that in context, news outlets included an explanation of anorexia when covering American singer Karen Carpenter’s untimely passing that same year.
We have come a long way since then. Our understanding of mental health, and its impact on individuals, families and communities, is more nuanced and detailed.
The days when terms like depression were whispered are, for most, long gone. We are more open and educated about these topics than anyone could have imagined in the early days of the CCS.
This seismic shift in our communities is a good thing. It has, however, driven an exponential growth in demand for assistance from CCS.
Our services are as relevant and necessary today as they were in 1982.
That statement clearly shows that CCS founder Maria Huss was a woman of foresight, a gift that has benefited Cork enormously.
Being one of the first centres in the south to provide counselling created many challenges during CCS’s infancy.
But a will to succeed and increasing client numbers kept Maria focused on expansion.
In 1985 CCS registered as a company, and four years later was granted charitable status.
Dual registration confirmed CCS as a social enterprise, a status that remains the core of CCS’s main goal: to make counselling affordable to all.
Meeting this goal requires funding, and CCS are grateful for consistent assistance in this regard from Tulsa and the HSE.
Their training institute, which was established in 1966, is now a large contributor in that regard.
However, the benefits of the institute go beyond helping keep the organisation afloat. Every graduate adds skill, wisdom and another opportunity for help to the community.
Currently, our graduates are working throughout the county, and in a wide variety of settings.
CCS’s alma mater boasts many hundreds of students and alumni, many of whom, along with current and past staff, will attend the ‘Creative Beings’ event on Friday, August 26.
We are very proud of the contribution we have made to Cork over the past 40 years, and we want to make this anniversary special.
‘Creative Beings’ will feature guest speakers Louise O’Neill, Shane Casey (AKA Billy Murphy), Honor Carrol, Biddy McDonagh and Michael Moynihan. Music will be provided by Eoin O’Riabhaigh, Aidan Coffey and Ronan O’Driscoll.
Julie Goo, one of Ireland’s best spoken word artists, will also perform.
Local politicians (from all parties), and representatives from some of Cork’s leading community organisations (Sexual Violence Centre, Penny Dinners, Good Day Cork, Youth Reach, The Cork Life Centre) will also be in attendance.
I am delighted that invitations to this event have been met with great enthusiasm. We are looking forward to the night - especially as past and present CCS staff will share their experiences from the past 40 years.
‘Creative Beings’ takes place in the Kingsley Hotel from 5.30pm to 9pm on Friday, August 26th . Should any past or present client, student, staff member or organisation associated with CCS wish to attend, they are more than welcome to contact CCS through their website https://www.corkcounsellingservices.ie