A special segment on RTÉ last night (Thursday), which presented research exploring the experiences of people living in Ireland during the Covid-19 pandemic, showed that over a third of us (33%) have struggled with our mental health since it began.
The poll presented on ‘The Next Normal’ segment also showed that apart from Covid itself, mental health issues were in the top three concerns for 25% of people living in Ireland.
An overwhelming 83% of respondents said that “being connected to other people” has become more important over the last few months, while 36% of us and significantly 62% of farmers are fearful of facing social isolation.
Mental Health Ireland CEO Martin Rogan said that the timely survey recognised social connection as an important factor in protecting our mental health and wellbeing, especially during recent tough times.
He said, “Covid has impacted the whole population generating stress, anxiety and uncertainty – with each generation having to make special efforts to protect themselves and others. This social bond is in itself protective, but must be nurtured and supported.
“Our natural coping mechanisms which include social contact, spending time with friends, exercise, sports, hobbies and community connection have had to be restrained to limit the progress of virus. That said, Irish people are resilient and many have quickly adapted to this new context by embracing new technologies, creative workarounds and new socially distanced adaptations.
“At this time, we need to make an extra effort to reach out, so that all members of our community can be actively included and protected.”
Mr Rogan added that the survey also highlighted the need for investment in evidence-based mental health promotion, recovery focused approaches and community mental health services.
“We have heard from Irish people that mental health is a primary concern for themselves and their loved ones. We must now invest in evidence-based mental health promotion and the recovery enhancing approaches that can protect all citizens as we work together to overcome Covid.
“Interruptions in community mental health services need to bridged so that people with significant mental health needs can be supported through this challenging period.”
Mental Health Ireland has worked with many partners and people who use mental health services to develop an array of free online resources available at www.mentalhealthireland.ie/resources
You’ll also find resources to help support your mental health during tough times at www.mentalhealthireland.ie/get-support/covid19 and www.mentalhealthireland.ie/mental-health-services/
You may want to suggest or share these resources with family, friends and colleagues