A mental health charity said that since the start of the pandemic in Ireland, they have seen an increase of over 50pc in the number of people calling into their support line.
Aware, a charity which provides assistance for those impacted by depression, bipolar disorder, and other mood related conditions, said it has seen a “dramatic increase” in demand for their services since lockdown began in March.
Head of fundraising at Aware Stephen Butterly, added to this and the heavy impact Covid has had on the nation’s wellbeing.
“Covid-19 has affected all aspects of our lives,” he said. “At Aware, we continue to see significant demand for our support services, to include a 60pc increase in calls to our support line.”
“People with pre-existing mental health conditions like depression may be more vulnerable but we are also seeing many people developing mental health difficulties for the first time.”
As a fundraising initiative, Aware got rugby star Devin Toner to launch their Christmas 5k this year. The 34-year-old Leinster player is raising awareness of the run, alongside his wife Mary, and his three-year-old son Max.
Mr Butterly emphasised how the event is extra important this year, as like many charities, their ability to raise money during the pandemic has been pretty limited.
“Our fundraising income has been affected this year and so we need the public’s support to ensure we can be there for everyone who needs us,” he said. “We are asking as many people as possible to join us in the Aware Christmas 5K in support of mental health.”
“Every single euro counts and every single participant will make a difference.”
Aware’s 5k run will take place from Friday December 11, until Sunday 13. Participants can walk, run or jog the 5k distance close to home.
Aware is also encouraging corporate organisations to get involved, saying the event provides “a fun way to bring the team together this Christmas”, while also still supporting an important cause.
Everyone who takes part will get a custom medal that doubles as a Christmas tree decoration and a treat. Online registration is available now at www.awarechristmas5K.com at a cost of €25 per person.