Pieta, Ireland’s leading suicide prevention charity, has launched a new nationwide, free video counselling service.
The new service, announced ahead of World Mental Health Day on October 10th, will be provided in addition to Pieta’s phone therapy and ‘in-person’ counselling service which the charity provides across 19 locations nationwide.
Since the beginning of March, and the pandemic, the Pieta crisis helpline has answered over 10,000 calls directly relating to suicide, self-harm, and suicide bereavement.
The new, free video counselling service, which consists of a session with a specialist therapist, now aims to bridge the gap for those who may be restricted through lock-down or for whom their local Pieta centre is not yet open due to Covid.
There are currently three Pieta centres available for ‘in-person’ counselling with more to re-open in the coming weeks.
Free video counselling will be offered depending on the needs of the client and following discussions between the client and the Pieta clinical support team.
Launching the service in Limerick were Pieta Ambassador and blogger Louise Cooney and Pieta Clinical Manager, Nora Conway.
Speaking about the new initiative Ms Conway said: “We are delighted to extend our services beyond the crisis help-line and the face-to-face appointments with these new online video sessions.
“One of the key learnings from Covid is the need to expand our services and to offer a blended approach to our counselling.
“While the pandemic accelerated the need for virtual appointments, we also see this very much as a response to a growing demand in a world that is increasingly digital.
“These appointments will be available for those in need of someone to talk to and who may be reluctant to visit a centre at this difficult time.”
TREE OF HOPE
Pieta is also marking World Mental Health Day by supporting the planting of ‘Trees of Hope’ in over 100 locations across the country.
The charity is asking its supporters to get involved by planting cherry blossoms, which flower in May, as a symbol of hope and solidarity with those who are struggling with suicidal ideation or who have been bereaved by suicide.
May is the month when Pieta’s Darkness Into Light walk, proudly supported by Electric Ireland, typically takes place.
Darkness Into Light serves as a much needed fundraiser for the charity, and is a commemorative event in remembrance of those who have lost their lives to suicide.