60pc jump in callers to mental helpline
CALLS to the mental health line at St Patrick's hospital in Dublin have increased by 60pc in one year.
Depression, anxiety and eating disorders were the most common triggers for the calls to the line which is staffed by mental health nurses.
Staff from the mental health support & information line at the hospital say more people are looking for help than ever before
Figures show than 213 people called the service in January of this year compared to 134 for the same month last year.
A comparison of the annual figures shows that calls increased by 493 in 2011 compared to the previous year with a total; of 1,414 in 2010 compared to 1,853 last year.
Depression was the greatest concern for 324 people last year compared to 215 the previous year.
Anxiety was the second commonest reason for calls with 258 people seeking help from the line last year compared to 148 the previous year.
Eating disorders were reported by 44 callers to the line compared to just 30 the previous year and there was a steep increase in a whole variety of other mental health problems from 401 in 2010 to 596 last year.
Paul Gilligan, CEO of St Patrick's says "The rise in calls relating to depression and anxiety reflect the growing recognition of the warning signs.
"However people still do not always know who to turn to for help and advice about mental health or what service will best meet their mental health needs.
"This phone line helps people of all ages and backgrounds across the broad spectrum of mental health issues to find the right service for them."
Commenting on the figures, Tom Maher, director of clinical services at St Patrick's, said: "It is encouraging to see that more and more people are seeking advice for a mental health issue much earlier, rather than suffering in silence.
"Many people who use our services have told us that they waited more than a year before seeking help and some waited as long as 10 years.
"But international research has demonstrated that earlier intervention leads to better outcomes. Initiatives like the Mental Health Support and Information Line play their part in giving every Irish citizen quick access to professional mental health advice."