US superstar fronts new campaign tackling anxiety for Irish young people

Justin Kelly

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Justin Kelly

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justin.kelly@iconicnews.ie

US superstar fronts new campaign tackling anxiety for Irish young people

US superstar fronts new campaign tackling anxiety for Irish young people

American singer-songwriter, actress, and television personality Demi Lovato today announced a fundraising appeal for four mental health organisations, including Irish youth support charity SpunOut.ie.

The Grammy-nominated artist is joining forces with Royal Bank of Canada, Virgin Unite and Draper Richards Kaplan to launch The Mental Health Fund - which has already raised over €1.8 million globally - to help people struggling with the mental health and behavioural impact of the coronavirus. This fund aims to support the work of organisations that provide crisis intervention via text message, 24/7. 

Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) has made a €45,000 donation to support the life-saving work of SpunOut.ie in Ireland. The Mental Health Fund, which is live on GoFundMe, has a global goal of €4.6m (US $5m) and hopes to raise €350,000 to ensure SpunOut.ie can continue to provide 24/7 crisis support to young people in Ireland in the coming weeks and months.

Young people are turning to text support services instead of calling traditional phone helplines as many find it easier to discuss and share their feelings over text rather than talking to someone over the phone. To meet the increased demand of people in need of support, Crisis Text Line, Shout UK, Kids Help Phone in Canada, and Irish youth charity SpunOut.ie, have come together to work with The Mental Health Fund. As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, these organizations experienced a collective 40% increase in texter volume in March.

In Ireland, there has been a 60% increase in young people reaching out to SpunOut.ie for support since the start of the crisis. The data from SpunOut.ie’s texting support service conversations highlights the mental health impact of this pandemic:

Anxiety/stress is the top issue in Ireland right now. Before coronavirus around 25-30% of texters' conversations related to anxiety/stress - now it's 52%.

One third of texters directly reference ‘Coronavirus’, ‘Virus’ or ‘Covid’ in their conversations with trained SpunOut.ie volunteers.
Anxiety, depression, isolation, relationships and suicide continue to be the top 5 reasons for reaching out for help

One in five texters reaching out for support are having thoughts of suicide. Almost 2 in 3 (65%) texters say they have shared something with a trained SpunOut.ie volunteer they have never shared with anyone else. Over 50% of texters get in touch because they have no one else to talk to

Almost half (48%) of texters get in touch because they want to talk to someone who didn't know them.

“So many people have been left alone with their thoughts, their abusers, their anxieties — and are struggling with the uncertainty of these times,” said Demi Lovato. “I know not everyone has the ability to get the help they need so my hope is that this fund can bring support to help alleviate some of the hardship and pain people are going through.

“As the current crisis continues days are filled with uncertainty and worry for some young people. SpunOut.ie is here 24/7 to help those in Ireland who might be struggling with any issue, no matter how big or small. We’re grateful to the supporters of The Mental Health Fund for making sure we can continue to be here for any young person who needs support during this unprecedented time and in the weeks and months to come” said Ian Power, CEO of SpunOut.ie. 

“We are so honoured to support the critical work of the incredible people behind the Mental Health Fund. There has never been a more important time for their work.  Mental health support will be needed for years to come, and we all should get behind their mission to ensure everyone can receive quality support 24/7.”  Richard Branson, Founder Virgin Unite.

“Physical distancing is tough on everyone, but it’s particularly challenging for those who are anxious about reaching out for help,” said Dave McKay, President and CEO of RBC. “By supporting The Mental Health Fund, RBC is helping make sure resources are available for those struggling with the day-to-day challenges of a more isolated world. We encourage everyone to seek the support they need, when they need it.”

“The virus itself is awful and causing anxiety and grief and then the quarantines and financial ruin is causing different intense pain,” said Nancy Lublin, CEO and CoFounder of Crisis Text Line. “We’re here for all of it. Bring it on. We got you.”

These organisations recruit, train, and support volunteers who comfort texters struggling to cope with anxiety, depression, substance abuse, suicidal ideation, domestic violence, eating disorders, or other mental health challenges. Since 2013, Crisis Text Line and it’s affiliate partners Kids Help Phone, Shout, and SpunOut.ie have trained over 30,000 volunteers and exchanged over 150 million messages by text with people in pain.

Your support is greatly appreciated! To learn more about The Mental Health Fund, visit GoFundMe: www.gofundme.com/f/thementalhealthfund.