Saturday 1 October 2016

Gardaí launch new helpline for force

Alan O'Keeffe

Published 25/06/2016 | 02:30

Garda Commissioner, Noirin O'Sullivan pictured with Mary McEvoy and Brent Pope at the launch of an Independent 24/7, 365 Counselling Service for An Garda Siochana in the Westmanstown Conference and Events Centre, Dublin. Picture Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin.
Garda Commissioner, Noirin O'Sullivan pictured with Mary McEvoy and Brent Pope at the launch of an Independent 24/7, 365 Counselling Service for An Garda Siochana in the Westmanstown Conference and Events Centre, Dublin. Picture Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin.

Gardaí seeking to cope with stress and trauma will be able to turn for help to a new confidential helpline and counselling service.

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Rugby pundit Brent Pope and actress Mary McEvoy attended the launch of the service yesterday and urged gardaí not to hesitate to avail of the new helpline.

Both spoke of their own mental health problems and the importance of seeking help at an early stage.

Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan said the new helpline will ensure the wellbeing of gardaí.

O'Sullivan spoke of the difficult situations gardaí deal with on a regular basis.

In the course of their work, gardaí can be called upon in situations of multiple road deaths, breaking news of drug deaths to parents, dealing with child neglect, violent crimes, domestic violence cases and gun murders, she said.

Commissioner O'Sullivan said it takes "strength of character" to recognise and act upon the need to get help and advice.

She said empathy was a core value essential to policing, and urged members of the force not to hesitate in seeking advice and counselling when they feel under pressure both professionally and personally.

The service will be provided by EAP Consultants/Carecall and will be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The confidential service will provide counselling on a wide range of work and personal issues including trauma, bereavement, stress, and health.

"We work in a unique profession where we are confronted by major challenges every day that can test us to the limit physically and mentally," said the commissioner.

The helpline number is 1800 817433.

Irish Independent

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