Mental health illness issues on the rise in northeast
Support group Grow to increase services in the area as conditions spiral due to recession, writes AINE McMAHON
THE RECESSION has led to an increase in mental heath illness issues in the northeast region, according to Grow, the mental health help and awareness group.
“Financial pressures and unemployment have caused a spiralling of conditions among those who have been suffering from mental health issues and we’ve noticed a big increase in the numbers of inquiries to our help groups so far this year,” said Mary French, co-ordinator of Grow Ireland north-eastern region.
The group is planning to increase its services in the area as a result of heightened demand.
Grow will start two regional groups in the northeast in September and will launch an awareness programme in October.
Grow says it offers its members a practical path out of mental illness. At every meeting, practical development tasks are given to each member and designed to fulfil each person’s needs.
A new Grow group will meet weekly at Navan Library every Monday from September 24th from 10.30am to 12.30pm. A second group will meet in Cavan town.
Michelle Kerrigan, chief executive of Grow Ireland, said the demand for its services have increased in the northeast because of the recession and increased isolation among people in the community.
“Older people in rural areas may not have much contact during the week apart from the post office but many have closed down. Younger people may feel left behind as their friends have emigrated. Communities in Ireland aren’t what they used to be and feelings of loneliness and isolation can lead to prolonged stress and anxiety for some. If this is not addressed early on, people become depressed and the recovery process is delayed.”
Ms Kerrigan added that the increase in suicide among young rural males had been a driver for increased services in the northeast.
“There is a perception that it’s mainly women who would use a service like this but our statistics show that it’s 50-50 as 48 per cent of those who use the service are men. It is vital that there is some service available for young adults and we have youth groups to cater for them.
“People who are unemployed or are under financial pressure may feel like they have nowhere to turn so we need to increase awareness of the service,” she said.
First established in Ireland in 1969, and with 130 groups nationwide, Grow is a worldwide mutual support organisation which aims to help support people suffering from mental health problems.
Grow also campaigns and organises public education programmes to heighten awareness on mental health issues.
It operates programmes in the Central Mental Hospital, and Mountjoy and Arbour Hill Prisons.