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difficult time Number of young people seeking help from Pieta House increases by more than 40pc

Ireland’s national suicide and self-harm prevention charity has said the number has more than doubled on this time last year

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The number of young people seeking help from Pieta House has increased by more than 40pc this year.

Pieta House, Ireland’s national suicide and self-harm prevention charity has said the number of under 18s seeking support has increased by 42pc this year, and has more than doubled on this time last year.

According to the charity, the demand for its services has grown by 22pc since last year, with the demand for services now higher than it was in previous years due the Covid-19 pandemic playing a large role.

The charity has said so far this year, 4,620 people of all ages sought support from Pieta House.

While additional pandemic uncertainty has resulted in more young people and adolescents concerned about their future, the charity said it has seen a particular increase in young people struggling with depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, and body image.

Emma Dolan, Pieta’s Clinical Director said: “This summer, Pieta is working with more young people than ever before.

“And in the past three months demand has been significantly higher than in previous years.

“Typically, we see a decrease in our under 18’s attending Pieta over the summer months, however, this year this has not been the case.”

Leigh Kenny, Regional Manager Dublin said: “What is positive is that there are many supports available for young people and their families.

“We can see that the past year has presented more than normal challenges for young people, it continues to be a difficult time for them, and we are not yet clear of the full impact of Covid”.

Pieta House is hiring more psychotherapists to work with young people, and more therapists to provide counselling.

The charity is also working with University College Dublin, supported by the National Office of Suicide Prevention, to research, design and develop better psychoeducation supports for parents of young people experiencing self-harm.

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“It’s critical we all know the signs, for example; if someone is talking about suicide, saying they feel like a burden, withdrawing from friends, or are becoming more anxious,” Ms Dolan said. “We encourage people to listen and be present, give reassurance, and to encourage social interaction and a healthy lifestyle.”

Pieta’s crisis helpline is on freephone 1800 247 247.

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