Éist, the UL Student Counselling and Wellbeing Service, is gearing up for a winter where mental health will likely be more affected than ever.
This time of year is generally a tough one for those suffering with mental health issues, but during a year that has been particularly hard on us all, this may be more true than ever.
“The counselling service is always extremely busy and this year is no different,” said Rachel Glennon, an assistant psychologist with the service.
She also explained that while numbers won’t be available until the end of this semester, there have been some notable changes in reasons for accessing the service from previous years.
“Anecdotally speaking, there has definitely been a trend in students accessing the service with issues transitioning to online learning and also about worries over career options post-Covid,” added Ms Glennon.
The Éist service provides UL students with access to counselling and wellbeing services, and has done so for around 30 years.
Éist has a staff of 18, consisting of pyschologists, assisant psychologists, psychotherapists, and administators.
Éist also offered some tips for students to help them protect their mental health.
“Given the difficult winter that we’re all faced with, a great piece of advice would be to talk to others. Talk about how you’re feeling and ask them how they’re feeling,” said Ms Glennon.
Limerick Voice also talked to a student who had availed of Éist’s services in the past. In order to preserve her privacy, we will refer to her as Mary.
Mary credits Éist with making a breakthrough in her mental health journey.
“It was Éist that really opened up my conversation on mental health. Before, I was able to acknowledge my anxiety but Éist really opened up the questions of why it was there, which was basically the beginning of recovery for me.
“It was the first time I’d felt I’d been heard and listened to,” Mary added.
Mary described for us her experience getting in touch with Éist, stressing that it was not a complicated procedure.
Upon her initial visit, she filled in a short questionnaire, and then saw an assistant psychologist in order to better assess her situation.
“Personally, I had the initial visit and then was scheduled with a psychologist within a week,” said Mary.
Mary also had some key advice for anyone who is struggling with their mental health, or who is contemplating contacting someone for help.
“The best advice is just to reach out. In doing that, you’re halfway there. It is okay to not be okay.”
More information on Éist can be found here.
If you are suffering from depression, anxiety, or having suicidal thoughts, you can contact the following organisations.
Aware – 1800 80 48 48
Samaritans – 116 123
Pieta House – 1800 247 247
Teen-Line Ireland – 1800 833 634 (for ages 13 to 18)
Childline – 1800 66 66 66 (for under 18s)