Free therapy sessions to be provided to individuals impacted by the pandemic

Counselling and psychotherapy in over 15 languages are to be funded under scheme

Around 16,500 therapy sessions are to be provided for free to individuals impacted by the pandemic, as part of a new initiative launched by the Minister for Mental Health.

A €1 million fund will be dedicated to the initiative, announced on Tuesday by Minister for Mental Health and Older People, Mary Butler.

Counselling service MyMind will provide up to 16,500 counselling and psychotherapy sessions, in over 15 languages, through the fund, which is part of a €10 million once off additional allocation for mental health announced on Budget Day.

The therapy sessions will be provided on a no cost basis to people who were “particularly impacted” during the Covid-19 pandemic, such as through personal experience of bereavement as a result of the virus, isolation, depression, anxiety, or working on the frontline.

The therapy sessions may also be provided to those impacted by the economic effects of the pandemic, including those working in the creative arts, entertainment or hospitality industries.

Ms Butler said the extra funding has been provided for the sessions because of the importance of early intervention, and “support being available when and where they are needed”.

The delivery of the sessions is a continuation of an initiative that commenced in 2020 through the Sláintecare Integration Fund. As part of this, MyMind has delivered approximately 22,000 counselling and psychotherapy sessions to date.

Chief executive of MyMind Krystian Fikert said the need for access to “high-quality mental health support for all has never been greater”.

“The impacts of Covid-19 on Ireland’s mental health are already becoming evident, with some of us having to deal with bereavements and a sense of loss, some with feelings of isolation and loneliness, and some with severe anxiety as we seek to move on from the worst of the pandemic,” he said.

"Many have also had their professional lives severely impacted. All of this is on top of the many other factors affecting good mental health in Ireland. It is therefore so important that we take action to look after our mental health now."

All appointments delivered through the project will take place virtually, via video call or phone call, and will be provided by MyMind. Details can be found at https://mymind.org/

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