FAMILY Carers Ireland, Carlow/Kilkenny Resource Centre is pleased to announce a new free, online counselling service available to family carers. It is funded through the Dormant Account Fund administered by Pobal.
Launched today, the service was set up because family carers often live with higher levels of anxiety, depression and stress than the general population.
A recent study reveals that 48% of carers are diagnosed with mental ill health and 68% of carers felt that their health had suffered as a result of their role as a family carer. This pressure has amplified in the current pandemic, as fear for their vulnerable loved ones is much greater.
There are 4,432 family carers in Carlow. Through their caring role and sacrifice, family carers save the state €10 billion each year by caring for their loved ones, significantly easing pressure on the healthcare service – this has never been more important than during the current pandemic.
Those wishing to access this service can do so through one of the 22 family carer resource centres nationwide or via the National Freephone Careline 1800 240724.
Mary Walsh, carer supports manager, Family Carers Ireland, Carlow/Kilkenny Resource Centre, said: “Our careline has been inundated with calls from family carers, who are struggling with their emotional wellbeing at this time. With much of the supports and services now closed, the demands of their caring role and the additional challenges faced as a result of Covid-19 are taking their toll on their mental wellbeing.”
The counselling service offers a safe, non-judgemental space for family carers to talk with a qualified professional and work through any problems or difficult feelings they are experiencing, such as stress, anxiety, low self-esteem, burnout or depression. Due to the Covid-19 restrictions, no face-to-face counselling is taking place in Ireland, but family carers can engage with a qualified counsellor by phone or through a secure video link.
The new service is one of many supports that Family Carers Ireland has put in place, including liaising with other national bodies to deliver help to vulnerable carers across its network.