Counselling service for the homeless sees numbers rise over 70%

Simon Community Charity saw an increase in the numbers accessing its Sure Steps Counselling service

Counselling service for the homeless sees numbers rise over 70%

The Homeless Jesus sculpture outside Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin | Image: RollingNews.ie

The Minister for Mental Health is launching a new counselling service today aimed at helping those who are homeless, as the numbers using the service have increased by over 70%.

Minister Helen McEntee is opening a new suite of community-based counselling rooms in Dublin 8, provided as part of Dublin Simon Community’s Sure Steps Counselling service for people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

"The expansion of our Sure Step Counselling service is in response to the high demand for this vital mental health support," Sam McGuinness from the Simon Community said. "In 2015, we saw a 71% increase in the numbers accessing this service, where we provided over 1,700 hours of 1:1 counselling and mental health support to people in our services."

Minister McEntee said on the service: "We know that bricks and mortar alone will not solve the housing crisis and this support is vital to ensure that people can address what circumstances brought them to be where they are and provide the emotional supports for them to recover from the detrimental impact of homelessness."

Of those who had availed of the service, 70% of clients were male and 30% were female. Reasons cited for using the counselling service were highlighted as needing support for mental health (32%), addiction (30%), grief/bereavement (19%) and relationship difficulties (7%).