FAMILY Carers Ireland, Carlow/Kilkenny Resource Centre has pleased announced a new free online counselling service to family carers funded through the Dormant Account Fund administered by Pobal.
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 roles as a family carers.
This pressure is amplified in the current pandemic as fear for their vulnerable loved ones is much greater.
There are 7,747 family carers in Kilkenny. Through their caring roles 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.
Mary Walsh, Carer Supports’ Manager, Family Carers Ireland, Carlow/Kilkenny Resource Centre, said
“Our Careline has been inundated with calls from family carers who are struggling with their emotional well-being.
“With much of the supports and services now closed the demands of their caring roles and additional challenges faced as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic is taking its toll on their mental wellbeing. “
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 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 (eg 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.
Mary Walsh and her team also provide information and support on services available during Covid-19, co-ordinate food hampers for vulnerable carers and carry out intensive needs assessment on an individual basis with family carers across Kilkenny.
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