Talk therapy can help you cope better

The government launched a €1 million mental health fund post pandemic to facilitate free talk therapy for those impacted by Covid-19. Dr Michelle O'Driscoll tells us more
Talk therapy can help you cope better

Talk therapy is also known as counselling, talk treatment or psychological therapies. Picture: Stock

THE Covid-19 pandemic has gone through several waves in terms of infection, but the upcoming waves are predicted to be more focussed on the mental health implications of what we have experienced over the past two years.

These waves are already gathering momentum, it seems, with more and more people presenting with stress, anxiety, depression and other mental health issues.

The types of things that are causing greatest distress for people include isolation, bereavement, job loss, loss of life as it once was, and huge anxiety around navigating the implementation of restrictions, followed by the current easing of them.

Uncertainty is a known stressor, and after a prolonged period of time with such uncertainty inherent in society and our daily lives, it was bound to take its toll on our wellbeing.

A recent announcement was made by government which outlined the launch of a €1 million mental health fund post pandemic to facilitate free talk therapy for those impacted by Covid-19. The funds will support the delivery of 16,500 virtual counselling and psychotherapy sessions by MyMind, the non governmental organisation. The purpose of these sessions is early intervention, made accessible to those who need it the most.

Talk therapy is also known as counselling, talk treatment or psychological therapies. It is beneficial for anybody going through a tough time, or that needs help to process difficult emotions.

For some, it can be used instead of medication, for others it’s a very helpful addition to meds. It’s an invaluable opportunity to be listened to, and to be guided to look at your problems from a different perspective, by somebody who respects your experience and opinions.

While talking therapy rarely makes the problems go away completely, it can greatly improve your ability to cope with them. This free service is being extended to those who have been most impacted by the pandemic, and those who would not otherwise be able to avail of such sessions due to their economic status or long term illness.

  • You must be over 18, living in Ireland, and meet one of the following criteria: presenting with Covid-related mental health issues. The examples given here are extensive, from stress, depression or anxiety, to loneliness, bereavement, social isolation or long-term Covid related illness.
  • Working in an area that was badly affected by the pandemic such as the arts or hospitality
  • Frontline healthcare workers such as HSE staff, GPs, public health workers, nursing home staff
  • Facing financial hardship with otherwise precludes you from being able to avail of the cost of MyMind services

In order to request one of these sessions, you don’t need to get a GP referral, but can act yourself immediately. You should register on the MyMind website, providing contact information and details in order to assess your case. You will then be given the opportunity to choose ‘Free Counselling Project’ at the end of the registration process.

There are free children and adolescent places also available with MyMind, but these are limited to parental support, and not working with the child directly.

Taking the step of reaching out for therapy is often the most daunting one for those who feel like they need support. What will the person I’m speaking to think of me? What will others think of me? What difference will it make anyway? If you’re considering talking therapy as something that might be of help, then just give it a try. So many people report how life changing it is.

Real transformation can occur in our daily lives from giving ourselves the gift of space and support to process what has been a hugely traumatic time.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  Dr Michelle O’Driscoll is a pharmacist, researcher and founder of InTuition, a health and wellness education company.

Her research lies in the area of mental health education, and through InTuition she delivers health promotion workshops to corporate and academic organisations nationally. See intuition.ie

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