Kildare has been listed among a number of counties with the highest sign-ups for charity's mental health services.
Turn2Me, a national mental health charity, has stated that, since the start of 2022, the highest new user sign-up numbers came from: Dublin (33 per cent), Cork (10 per cent), Galway (6.1 per cent), Kildare (5.1 per cent), Meath and Wicklow.
The charity said that these new users avail of the charity's free mental health support services, including: one-to-one counselling, support groups on anxiety, depression, grief and relationship issues, and an online mood diary called a 'Thought Catcher'.
Turn2Me added that the most common reported issue in its new users was anxiety, which it said was the most commonly reported issue from all counties in 2021 and is the most commonly reported issue thus far in 2022.
Commenting on the news, Fiona O'Malley, CEO of Turn2Me, said: "The higher sign-up rates coming from cities could be because they are more densely populated, or it could be because the cost of living is generally higher in the cities, which brings greater stresses and strains, which could lead to higher levels of anxiety and depression.
"Our services are very appealing to people because they are run by mental health professionals, they all come in a free format, and they are available 365 days a year.
She added that another reason there has been a spike in the demand for our services is because two of Turn2Me's services, its support groups and its Thought Catcher mood diary, have no waiting lists.
Ms O' Malley continued: "A new user could create an account on our website, and within an hour, start using our Thought Catcher or sign up for our support groups which run most evenings at 6pm."
The charity has said that people from anywhere in Ireland can avail of its free mental health support services, which run 365 days a year — there are support groups available for young people between the ages of 12-17, and support groups available for adults on relationship issues, grief, anxiety and depression, which run most evenings at 6pm.
Turn2Me was founded in 2009 by Oisín and Diarmuid Scollard who sadly lost their brother, Cormac, to suicide in 2003.
The charity was set up with an aim to break the common barriers to accessing professional mental health services.
Explaining the impacts of depression and anxiety, Ms O' Malley said: "Sometimes people don't even want to leave the house or get out of bed if they're going through a period of anxiety or depression.
"This barrier of the physical journey going to and from mental health support sessions is exacerbated because of the rising costs of living and the increase in fuel prices.
"Turn2Me has removed this barrier by hosting all our services on a secure platform built into our website, Turn2Me.ie. Our one-to-one counselling sessions are conducted by mental health professionals via the chat function or the video function on the website."
She elaborated: "We have also removed the barrier of waiting lists by making two of our services, our Thought Catcher service and our support groups, available almost immediately to anyone who signs up to our services.
"We have also tried to remove the barrier of the cost of mental health services as much as possible by having free unlimited support groups available to our users, free unlimited use of the Thought Catcher (to those over the age of twelve), and up to six free counselling sessions for people living in Ireland."
The three most common barriers to accessing mental health services in Ireland are the cost of mental health services, the waiting lists and the journey to and from mental health services.
Turn2Me's services are funded by the HSE's National Office for Suicide Prevention (NOSP).
For more information, visit Turn2Me.ie.
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