Family Resource Centres across the country are responding to a significant increase in demand for mental health supports during Covid-19.
That’s according to a survey on Family Resource Centre staff and volunteers, conducted by the National FRC Mental Health Promotion Project.
Donegal has ten FRCs across the county, which have served an essential service in our communities in providing mental health supports during the pandemic.
All Family Resource Centre staff, volunteers, and board members were surveyed in December and 94% reported an increase in demand for mental health supports in 2020. The main reason for service-users making contact for support was due to feeling isolated. This was followed by anxiety about mental health.
99% of staff and volunteers that completed the survey felt that Covid-19 has had a negative effect on the well-being of service users. 34% staff and volunteers said they have used the Suicide Prevention Code of Practice in the last 12 months for supporting service users.
The survey also asked Family Resource Centre staff and volunteers about how Covid-19 has impacted their own mental health.
34 per cent of staff and volunteers that completed the survey reported their own well-being was good or excellent in 2020, which was a decrease from 72 per cent in 2019. The main factors negatively impacting well-being were the lack of ability to deliver services remotely and the increased demand for services.
However, the survey findings show staff and volunteers were proactive about minding their own mental health by participating in training and wellbeing workshops. 60 per cent of staff and volunteers that completed the survey, reported that they had participated in wellbeing workshops in 2020. While 70 per cent said they had completed the Suicide Prevention Code of Practice Training to assist them in their work with vulnerable service users.
Shauna Diamond, National Programme Manager, FRC Mental Health Promotion Project, said: “This has been an exceptionally challenging period for Family Resource Centre staff and volunteers, but they have demonstrated their resilience and unwavering commitment to provide vital services in our communities.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of Family Resource Centres and the staff and volunteers who deliver the services.”