Mental health services for socially-distanced support

A detailed list of the online services available to help you look after your mental health during the coronavirus pandemic

The Covid-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdown are taking a heavy toll on people’s mental health and as a result of social distancing, many face-to-face counselling and mental health services are currently not available. For some people, the lockdown may have stripped away the social interactions and coping mechanisms needed to manage existing mental health conditions. For others, the effect of an uncertain future, loneliness and fears over the virus may be impacting their mental health more than they have ever experienced before.

The current situation has seen us adapt our methods of social interaction as Zoom calls become the new norm, proving we can still connect with each other even if we have to stay physically distanced. Similarly, mental health services are adapting to the realities of lockdown as many are now providing video counselling calls, confidential text messaging services and helpful videos, podcasts and articles. This article is not an exhaustive list, but it aims to provide a starting point for students looking for support or a space to open up about their frustrations and concerns during a challenging time for all.

College services

College’s counselling services are offering a variety of different online mental health services during the Covid-19 crisis and they are encouraging students to get in contact with any counselling staff member if they have questions or are unsure of what resources would be best for them. They are currently offering one-to-one telephone and video counselling sessions, which can be booked via [email protected], and mindfulness sessions over Zoom for both students and staff that last 30 minutes, as well as pre-recorded meditations on the service website. Student Counselling Services (SCS) also has a series of free, online courses under the Silver Cloud programme that are 6-8 weeks long. 

Student Learning Development (SLD) provides one-to-one telephone and video sessions – undergraduates can make an appointment by emailing [email protected]. Additionally, SLD are offering one-to-one appointments on academic skills on Monday afternoons and Thursday mornings for postgraduates, which can be booked here.

Additionally, TCDheadspace has lots of helpful videos and notes here about mental health and the mental health services available at the moment accessible through their Facebook page.

Trinity staff and students can also avail of the ePub alcohol use self-test and motivation for change tool developed by San Diego State University.

HSE recommended services

These are all online mental health services and resources recommended by the HSE specifically as a response to the Covid-19 pandemic and the effects of lockdown on mental wellbeing. If you or someone you know is struggling, these are some of the details of support services you can reach out to from home. 

Turn2me is a lifeline online that offers free online counselling and online support groups for over 18s. Additionally, if the thought of online counselling is intimidating, they also have a list of helpful resources, articles, podcasts and links on topics such as anxiety, stress management and depression to name just a few. 

Although its in its early stages, Mindhacks was created as a mental health community response to Covid-19 and offers videos and podcasts on a variety of different topics regarding mental health.

Aware offers information and support to anyone over 18, including free phone and email services, phone-in and Zoom support and self-care peer groups, online mental health education programmes that you can do from home directly in response to Covid-19, lectures on topics such as sleep, anxiety and nutrition and even provides tips for working at home. Its freephone support line, which is available between 10am to 10pm every day, is 1800 80 48 48, and its support email is [email protected].

Jigsaw offers mental health support and advice to young people aged 12-25 years old, as well as for concerned parents. Its freephone line is 1800 544729 and is available from 1pm to 5pm Monday to Friday or you can text CALL ME to 086 180 3880 with your preferred day and time for a call or email [email protected].

Samaritans offers emotional support to anyone in distress 24 hours a day through 116 123, while Crisis Text Line Ireland is a confidential messaging support service available 24 hours a day by texting TALK to 086 1800 280.

Pieta House has telephone and text-based support counselling for people who are suicidal or engaging in self-harm. The service is one-to-one and free for those in suicidal distress or those bereaved by suicide. Pieta House can be contacted by calling 1800 247 247 any time of day or texting HELP to 51444,

LGBT Ireland offers a comprehensive range of non-judgmental, confidential services that provide support and information related to sexuality and gender identity. Its LGBT+ Helpline is 1890 929 539 and its gender identity family support line is 01 907 3707 Instant messaging is available on its website from 6.30pm to 10pm Monday to Thursday, 4pm to 10pm Friday and 4pm to 6pm Saturday and Sunday.

For numerous reasons, this is a challenging and uncertain time for us all, and it is important to note that there are an abundance of online mental health services available to you if you are struggling. Reach out, even if it is just to vent your frustrations about life during Covid-19. The rhythm and daily routine of our lives has changed, and so now more than ever it is important that we support and manage our wellbeing. 

Heather Bruton

Heather Bruton is the Life Editor for Trinity News, and is completing a master's degree in Modern and Contemporary Literary Studies.