Pieta, Ireland’s leading suicide prevention charity, has launched a new nationwide, free video counselling service.
The new service, announced ahead of this Saturday's World Mental Health Day, will be provided in addition to Pieta’s phone therapy and ‘in-person’ counselling service which the charity provides across 19 locations nationwide.
Since the beginning of March, and the pandemic, the Pieta crisis helpline has answered over 10,000 calls directly relating to suicide, self-harm, and suicide bereavement.
The new, free video counselling service, which consists of a session with a specialist therapist, now aims to bridge the gap for those who may be restricted through lockdown or for whom their local Pieta centre is not yet open due to Covid-19.
There are currently three Pieta centres available for ‘in-person’ counselling with more to re-open in the coming weeks.
Launching the service in Limerick were Pieta Ambassador and blogger, Louise Cooney and Pieta clinical manager, Nora Conway. Speaking about the new initiative Ms Conway said they are delighted to extend their services beyond the crisis helpline and the face-to-face appointments with these new online video sessions.
"One of the key learnings from Covid is the need to expand our services and to offer a blended approach to our counselling.
"While the pandemic accelerated the need for virtual appointments, we also see this very much as a response to a growing demand in a world that is increasingly digital.
"These appointments will be available for those in need of someone to talk to and who may be reluctant to visit a centre at this difficult time.”
Louise Cooney said she was delighted to support the launch of the new video therapy with Pieta.
"It shows real innovation in a world that is increasingly online. I know from my own lifestyle and that of my friends, there are times where online appointments with face-to-face video interaction are crucial – no matter what the service, but for Pieta to offer this really shows a commitment to reaching everyone nationwide who needs to talk.”
Free video counselling will be offered depending on the needs of the client and following discussions between the client and the Pieta clinical support team.
Tree of Hope
Pieta is also marking World Mental Health Day by supporting the planting of ‘Trees of Hope’ in over 100 locations across the country.
The charity is asking its supporters to get involved by planting cherry blossoms, which flower in May, as a symbol of hope and solidarity with those who are struggling with suicidal ideation or who have been bereaved by suicide.
May is the month when Pieta’s Darkness Into Light walk, proudly supported by Electric Ireland, typically takes place. Darkness Into Light serves as a much needed fundraiser for the charity, and is a commemorative event in remembrance of those who have lost their lives to suicide.
How to contact Pieta
To avail of Pieta services, which are free of charge, please visit www.pieta.ie for all centre contact details. Pieta provides 24/7 support – if you are suicidal, self-harming or bereaved you can contact Pieta 24/7 via the Freephone crisis helpline on 1800 247 247, you can also text HELP to 51444 (standard message rates apply).
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