Just 50% of people with mental health issues seek counselling

JUST half of people with mental health issues seek counselling because of the cost and stigma associated with professional help, a new survey has revealed.

The survey by Amárach Research also found that 76% of Irish people know someone who has suffered from mental health vulnerabilities over the past year, with depression (38%) the most widespread issue.

This is followed by bereavement (26%), stress-related issues (21%), alcohol or drug addiction (15%), bullying (8%), and emotional abuse (7%).

The survey also found that:

- While three-quarters of Irish people would recommend counselling, 46% said that “stigma” is the main barrier to consideration.

- Men are significantly less open to the concept of counselling than women and younger people.

- People living in Connaught are most resistance to the concept of counselling than in other parts of the country, with those living in Munster most open.

- Those most exposed to the economic downturn are less likely than those in higher social class groups to seek help.

The survey was published to coincide with the launch of a new support programme for Beacon of Light, that aims to raise €50,000 to help the organisation meet growing demand for its services.

Director of Amárach Research, Orla Murphy, said the survey showed the openness of people to availing of counselling services is extremely positive.

“However the role of stigma as a barrier to counselling is one that is particularly relevant for consideration by the wider community and by the media. In difficult economic times, the demand for counselling and support services will rise just as Government’s ability to meet this demands declines. Our initiative is an attempt to bridge the funding gap for Beacon of Light by engaging with our corporate neighbours and colleagues and the wider hinterland over the next 12 months.”

Help at hand

- Samaritans: Tel 1850-60 90 90 (24-hours) www.samaritans.org

- www.reachout.com

- www.spunout.com

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