Turn2Me, a national mental health charity, has urged people from rural Ireland to use its free mental health services.

It follows the publication of the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) report which classified 55% of 22-year-old women and 40% of 22-year-old men as ‘depressed’.

The charity emphasised that two of its free services – its support groups and its ‘Thought Catcher’ service, have no waiting lists and can be used by anyone in Ireland or the UK.

Mental health

Turn2Me stated that the results of the ESRI report are “shocking” and are reflective of what mental health professionals witnessed during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Demand for Turn2Me’s services significantly increased during lockdown – at the peak of the pandemic, demand for its services spiked by 386%.

Turn2Me is urging anyone who is experiencing anxiety, depression, grief or relationship issues to sign up for their free support groups, which are facilitated by mental health professionals, and run six evenings a week.

The ‘Thought Catcher’ service runs every day from 2:00p.m until 8:00p.m and is described as a safe online platform where people can post about how they’re feeling, and other users can respond with positive, uplifting messages.

Users can engage with both the Thought Catcher and the support groups without the barrier of a waiting list, according to the charity. These services are funded by the HSE National Office for Suicide Prevention (NOSP).

“The ESRI report is shocking,” Fiona O’Malley, CEO of Turn2Me, said. “It clearly outlines how the pandemic negatively affected so many people, particularly young people.

“I would encourage anyone who is feeling depressed to engage with our free mental health services, particularly our support groups and our Thought Catcher – both these services are free, operated by mental health professionals and don’t have long waiting lists attached.”

People can sign up to Turn2Me’s free services by going to Turn2Me.ie, setting up a free account, and signing up for the support groups or engaging with the ‘Thought Catcher’.