Soaring numbers now go on stress courses
A DUBLIN psychologist has revealed that the numbers of people attending stress management courses has soared since the recession.
Psychologist Mark Harrold set up a free stress control course in Malahide, and was overwhelmed when 200 people turned up to the first class.
"We were expecting about 30 and the room could hold 45 but more than 200 turned up. We were bowled over.
"We had people standing and sitting on their hunkers and many people couldn't get into the room," he said.
Mr Harrold first decided to run the stress classes as a result of a number of suicides in the Malahide area. However, he was overwhelmed by the numbers who attended seeking help to deal with the growing level of stress in their own lives.
"It's all in respect of the recession. We weren't charging for the course, we just wanted to do something for our community," he explained.
"We've had so much back from it. We've had people coming up to us telling us they can't explain the difference it has made. We look at some of the causes, to publicly acknowledge it is the most powerful part of the whole thing," he added.
The psychologist believes that people are becoming more and more drawn to such courses because they are facing greater pressures but don't want to attend depression or suicide awareness support groups.
"People don't like to talk about depression or suicide but stress control is something they can talk about.
"It's a very practical course. It deals with suicide prevention and depression but mostly how to deal with the stress in your everyday life," he explained.
Malahide has been particularly affected by the recession, according to Mr Harrold.
"There would be a lot of middle managers living in the area who would have been on the pig's back during the boom times, taking out vast mortgages and now they are under huge financial pressure.
"They were encouraged to buy up properties and who knows the extent of the pressure they are feeling. Managers and their cohorts would have been particularly well represented in Malahide," he added.
Because interest in the course was so great, Mr Harrold is now planning a second free course beginning in April.
"We had 170 people every night and even on the night of the terrible floods 70 people turned up. This was when people couldn't make it outside their front doors.
"We are now planning another six week course. It's free and people will receive all the material they need to help them."
The course will run in the Grand Hotel in Malahide from April 16 from 8.30pm to 10pm.