Covid-19 causing higher levels stress and food poverty among disadvantaged families - poll

Covid-19 causing higher levels stress and food poverty among disadvantaged families - poll

The pandemic has led to higher levels of mental health strain and food poverty among disadvantaged families.

That is the finding of a poll of state-funded family resource centres across the country.

It showed that 51% of centres polled have been providing more talk therapy.

Claire Cashman, chair of the Family Resource Centre National Forum, says social distancing has made it much harder for counsellors to help families in need.

"The majority of our counsellors provided one-to-one support to people in crisis or in need of direct support but that is as much as we could do because of the confines of the lockdown.

"But we keep checking in. Every day our family support workers ring their families they work with.

"We are getting referrals for new families and we are supporting them without having actually met them which is quite challenging."

Family resource centres are also facing big increases in demand for food parcels.

69% of centres polled by a representative group named it as a major area of concern.

Most of those polled say overall demand has gone up by more than a quarter.

Ms Cashman said it is a big worry.

"Family resource centres around the country would have been using FoodCloud to support ongoing work within their centres.

"But once Covid really took a grasp, the demand for food parcels was phenomenal and it still is."

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