The coronavirus pandemic has rapidly changed the world – infecting millions, claiming over 200,000 lives and bringing the global economy to a standstill.
As COVID-19 cases grew exponentially and more countries went on lockdown, people started feeling uneasy and fearful. Undoubtedly, this pandemic has not just taken a physical toll on those infected, but it has also affected the mental health of the population at large.
Why Counselling Is Essential During COVID-19
Experts are observing elevated stress level during this health crisis. Most people are worried about their health and that of their loved ones. The fear of contracting the virus is particularly high in areas which are heavily affected by the pandemic and amongst vulnerable groups such as older adults, healthcare workers and those with underlying health conditions.
But people’s mental well-being is not just suffering because of the fear of getting sick. They are also feeling depressed, lonely and anxious.
The pandemic has caused total disruption and to some extent, erased what people have come to know as normal. With social distancing measures in place, face-to-face interactions have been extremely limited. Most people are locked up in their houses, physically disconnected from others.
People, in general, are social beings. They are not accustomed to distancing themselves from family members, friends and colleagues for an extended period of time. The isolation is making everyone, especially the extroverts, feel depressed and lonely.
In a recently published paper, a significant percentage of those surveyed stated that they were experiencing higher levels of depression and anxiety. In fact, these feelings were ranked higher as compared to the fear of contracting the virus.
On top of the social isolation, others are also confronting financial problems amidst this health crisis. The closure of non-essential businesses has left people without a livelihood. Some are even facing the possibility of permanently losing their jobs.
Clearly, the coronavirus pandemic has pushed people, even those without pre-existing mental health conditions, out of their emotional comfort zone. It is causing heightened anxiety and stress as well as a sense of loss.
Now more than ever, people need support to safeguard their mental health during these virus-ridden days and even months after this crisis. This includes access to counselling services for people with pre-existing mental conditions as well as those experiencing pandemic-induced emotional distress.
Getting Online Counselling in Ireland
There is no denying that seeing a counsellor these days is not as easy as before because of the measures implemented to mitigate the spread of the virus.
For one, some clinics have temporarily suspended their face-to-face sessions. But there are still a few that offer in-person therapy just like Access Counselling.
Of course, sessions in these clinics are conducted in such a way that social distancing protocols are met, i.e., therapist and patient sitting at least six feet apart. So, if you prefer talking to your counsellor in person, this option is still available.
Meanwhile, if you are not comfortable leaving your home or if you are a part of the high-risk groups, the best option for you is to get online counselling.
While clinics may have stopped providing in-person therapy, this does not mean that they have ceased operations. Many of them have moved their counselling services online.
These online therapy sessions utilise video options. Hence, it would not feel very different as you would still be seeing your counsellor. The process is still the same – you talk and the counsellor listens. She provides a structure for you to explore and understand your feelings during this pandemic.
More importantly, just like the face to face ones, professional online counselling sessions are confidential. You can trust the counsellors to be discrete and to provide an environment (even if it is a virtual one) where you would feel safe to talk.
Navigating this coronavirus pandemic is not easy. While it is normal to feel a host of emotions, you do not need to suffer in silence or deal with it on your own. There are counsellors who can help you find clarity and peace as well as ensure that you are in a healthy mental state during these uncertain times.
This health crisis has changed a lot of things, but not Access Counselling’s commitment to helping Irish citizens stay mentally healthy. If COVID-19 stress and anxiety is taking its toll on you, we have professional counsellors you can talk to. Call us on 015240708 or visit our website to schedule an online counselling session.