Over 3,000 Limerick people used mental health text service

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LAST year 3,017 people in Limerick availed of a free text service that offers anonymous mental health support to those in urgent need.

43 per cent of the texts from Limerick to the 50808 phone number were related to anxiety with a further 25 per cent related to depression and 24 per cent to stress.

Other issues raised by Limerick people on the hotline last year included isolation/loneliness (20 per cent), family relationships (18 per cent), suicide (17 per cent) and Covid (16 per cent).

The service has now launched its new volunteer recruitment campaign ‘You Have It In You’, which aims to show that everyone has their own personal 50808 volunteer, that friend or family member who just knows what to say when it comes to helping us through tough times.

50808 wants these potential volunteers to recognise their own talents and take the chance to help others for whom a simple conversation would mean so much.

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Data from 50808 shows how the new year period can be an extremely difficult time for the mental health of people in Ireland, particularly younger generations.

50808’s busiest period since its creation was December 2020 to January 2021, and an analysis of the almost 12,000 conversations that took place during this period indicated that two in five texters mention anxiety. The topics of isolation and loneliness also came up in over a quarter of conversations with 50808 volunteers.

“I know that the idea of volunteering can be daunting to some, especially if it means dealing with serious issues around mental health. However, what people may not realise is that we are already doing the work of a 50808 volunteer on our own time, because that’s what good friends do,” Limerick volunteer Emma explained.

“Whether it’s showing empathy on a late-night phone call, or coming over with ice cream and a movie after a breakup, we all have a 50808 volunteer in us. The experience of volunteering for 50808 has been so rewarding for me and I would encourage anyone else who’s thinking about it to sign up.”

According to Grace Vaughey, Head of Training and Coaching at 50808, volunteering with the service is not just an opportunity to help other people, but also gives the chance to receive invaluable active listening training and supervision.

To volunteer visit www.text50808.ie/volunteer and complete our online application form.