New free online counselling service available to Longford's 3,137 family carers

Longford Leader reporter

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New free online counselling service available to Longford's 3,137 family carers

New free online counselling service available to Longford's 3,137 family carers

Family Carers Ireland, Longford/Meath/Westmeath Resource Centre is pleased to announce a new free online counselling service available to family carers funded through the Dormant Account Fund administered by Pobal.

Launched on Thursday, May 28, the service was set up in recognition that family carers often live with higher levels of anxiety, depression and stress than the general population. 

A recent study reveals that 48% of carers are diagnosed with mental ill health and 68% of carers felt that their health had suffered as a result of their role as a family carer. 

This pressure on family carers is amplified in the current Pandemic as fear for their vulnerable loved ones is much greater.

There are 3,137 family carers in Longford. Through their caring role and sacrifice family carers save the State €10 billion each year by caring for their loved one at home and thereby significantly easing pressure on the health care service – this has never been more important than during the current Pandemic.

Those wishing to access this service can do so through one of the 22 Family Carer Resource Centres nationwide or via the National Freephone Careline 1800 24 07 24.

Cassandra Heffernan, Carer Supports Manager, Family Carers Ireland, Longford/Meath/Westmeath Resource Centre, said, “Our Careline has been inundated with calls from family carers who are struggling with their emotional well-being at this time. With much of the supports and services now closed the demands of their caring role and the additional challenges faced as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic is taking its toll on their mental wellbeing. Family Carers Ireland is pleased to announce the introduction of a free online counselling service to help support our members.”

 The Counselling Service offers a safe, non-judgemental space for family carers to talk about and work through any problems or difficult feelings they are experiencing such as stress, anxiety, low self-esteem, burnout or depression with a qualified professional. Due to the Covid-19 restrictions, no face-to-face counselling is taking place in Ireland, however family carers can engage with a qualified counsellor by phone or through a secure video link.

The new Counselling Service is one of many supports that family Carers Ireland has put in place including liaising with other national bodies to deliver services to vulnerable family carers  across its network. 

Other supports include:

  • National Freephone Careline 1800 240724 
  • Online Weekly ‘Carers’ Coffee Club’ on the charity’s Facebook page each Thursday at 11am offering expert advice during the Covid-19 crisis from some of the county’s top health experts. 
  • Emergency Care Plan booklet that is available to download from www.familycarers.ie with soon to come 24/7 emergency response service to support family carers in crisis
  • Online training (e.g. Patient Moving and Handling theory) 
  • Distribution of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to family carers in need
  • Intensive Carer Support programme – involving assessment of family carers needs and provision of services to support them in their caring role.

Family carers wishing to avail of this service or who need support with any other aspect of their caring role, can contact the National Freephone Careline 1800 24 07 24 or see familycarers.ie for more.