Throughout the COVID-19 health pandemic, there have been many examples of our communities responding to the exceptional circumstances to help those in need. Here, The Aisling Centre shares its story.

As the reality of the COVID-19 pandemic unfolded it became increasingly obvious that lockdown was inevitable. It was a time of great uncertainty and perhaps for some even fear but despite their personal worries and concerns the clear priority for everyone working at Aisling Centre was “how do we continue to deliver our counselling service through lockdown?”
Moving to remote working has brought with it many challenges, not least the pace at which change needed to happen. Despite this we have managed to get all the necessary governance and systems in place to move our core psychotherapy service from face-to-face to telephone/e-delivery almost seamlessly. In addition we introduced virtual self-care workshops for groups who normally work out of the Centre. We were also able to maintain full telephone and e-mail communication service and an active and supportive social media presence.

During lockdown the following services were offered:-

  • 2387 sessions of telephone/e-counselling offered (average 99 sessions per week)
  • 275 people attending counselling/psychotherapy in the period
  • 66 virtual self-care sessions of yoga and mindfulness offered (11 x 6 week groups)
  • 75 people attended virtual self-care sessions
  • 617 call/queries dealt with in a 12 week period

The grant from FODC which enabled Aisling Centre to buy mobile phones and laptops to facilitate remote working was invaluable in helping us sustain our service.

The feedback from clients was an overwhelming sense of relief that C-19 had not completely changed their world, Aisling Centre is still here and offering their much needed support and services albeit in a different way. Here are some comments from our clients.

“Having someone to talk to even over the phone has helped me greatly. Thank you to my therapist for all her advice and support over the last number of weeks through this lockdown. Could not have managed without the help”

“I would recommend the service to anyone I know who are feeling as low as I had been. Thank you for your help”

“Would prefer face to face, but feel this telephone counselling has really helped. Has supported me through a traumatic time and with underlying issues which I hadn’t acknowledged were there. Helped me deal with a really tough experience. Don’t know how I would have been without this sort of counselling”

“The Covid-19 pandemic broke out during our sessions and we transitioned seamlessly to virtual counselling. I barely noticed the difference and don’t think it made any discernible difference to the counselling experience”

“I found the counselling service really helpful and beneficial. Moving onto the phone was very helpful to have when we couldn’t do face to face. It was a good option to help especially with lockdown”

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