independent

Monday 21 April 2014

More calls to mental health service

Figures show an increase in the number of calls to St Patrick's Mental Health Support Service

Calls to a mental health service rose last year, with more than five people a day looking for support.

Figures revealed a significant increase in numbers seeking help with depression, eating disorders, addictions and support in 2012.

Staff at St Patrick's University Hospital in Dublin said at least five times a day a caller was helped to turn their life around.

Paul Gilligan, chief executive, said: "It is reassuring to see that year on year more people are seeking advice for a mental health issue rather than suffering in silence.

"We are also heartened to see that people may be beginning to seek help earlier for mental health difficulties. Service user survey results in 2012 highlight that 20% of respondents took more than one year to seek help versus 41% in 2011."

Data from its support and information line showed 1,947 calls were made last year, up from 1,853 in 2011.

They included 382 for depression (from 324), 285 for anxiety (from 258), 180 for addictions (from 160), and a 175% rise in the number of calls for eating disorders, from 44 to 121.

Mr Gilligan added: "There's no doubt that there is still more to be done in easing the burden of stigma associated with mental illness but finding ways to ease access to support and help is paramount.

"It's important that every Irish citizen knows that there is help out there, through initiatives like the St Patrick's Mental Health Support Service."

The service is available Monday to Friday on (01) 2493333, where information can also be given to families and carers.

Press Association

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