Almost one-in-five sought help for mental health difficulties during Covid-19 pandemic - survey

Almost one-in-five sought help for mental health difficulties during Covid-19 pandemic - survey
The number of people who would tell their partner they are suffering from mental health difficulties has increased to 70%, according to the St Patrick's Annual Stigma and Attitudes Survey 2020. File Picture.

Almost three-quarters of Irish people believe the community's response to mental health issues in the coming months will be crucial amid an increasing number of people seeking help.

More than one-in-four (27%) people or a loved one are experiencing mental health difficulties for the first time, according to the findings from St Patrick’s Annual Stigma and Attitudes Survey 2020. The survey polled 800 people throughout the country last month.

It also found almost one-in-five (18%) people or a family member sought help for a mental health difficulty during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The survey found there is a change in attitude towards mental health in the past year, though. 

There are indications that the stigma surrounding mental health is ending, with the number of people who would tell their partner that they are suffering from mental health difficulties increasing by 9% to 70%.

Despite this, there is still work to do, though, with 63% of people still believing that being treated for a mental health difficulty is regarded as a sign of failure. One-in-five (21%) people would consider it a sign of weakness if they sought help for a mental difficulty.

But less than one-in-ten (8%) would consider it a sign of weakness if a friend, family member or colleague had a mental health issue.

Chief executive of St Patrick’s Mental Health Services, Paul Gilligan, said their No Stigma digital campaign reimagined a society without discrimination.

“Our vision is for a reshaped Ireland where stigma and mental health discrimination do not exist,” said Mr Gilligan.

Meanwhile, the Irish Association of Social Workers said the recently launched mental policy Sharing the Vision failed to outline a detailed plan of public service reports for people experiencing mental distress.

“There has also been a missed opportunity to maximise social work expertise in mental health,” according to the association’s Social Workers in Adult Mental Health Special Interest Group.

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