Connect Counselling answers 4,444 calls in 2022 as demand for service increases

The Connect Counselling service answered 4,444 calls during 2022, as the service continued to experience a high level of demand.

Almost half of calls (47% ) were ‘as needed’, while 34% were scheduled therapeutic counselling sessions and 2% were information calls.

Connect is a free out-of-hours, confidential and professional, telephone-based counselling and support service for adults who were abused in childhood that is funded by the HSE.

Callers to the service reported experiencing abuse at home, in their communities, or during their time in institutions. A majority reported experiencing abuse in the family home (74% ), community abuse was reported by 23%, clerical abuse by 2% and institutional abuse by one percent.

During 2022 the service was open for 20 hours a week, from 6 to 10pm on five days. The service has this year expanded its opening times – and is now open 5-9pm seven days a week.

In 2022 a consistent pattern remained with females the predominant users of the Service. However, there was a significant increase in male callers compared to 2021, rising from 29% to 48%.

The most common age of Callers was 51-60 years (29% ). Callers aged between 41-50 accounted for 24%, while those aged above 61 accounted for 17%.

The offering of tele-counselling is similar to in-person counselling as it involves in-depth therapeutic work. The Caller has a choice of ‘as-needed’ calls when a need for emotional support arises, or scheduled appointments with an assigned therapist.

Given the level of demand for the service across many previous years, Connect extended its hours to provide a seven-day-week service in October 2023.

People can call Connect for free at 1800 477 477. From Northern Ireland and the UK people can call 00 800 477 477 77.

Connect was established in 2006 following demands from groups representing survivors of institutional abuse that an independent and professional out of hours telephone-based service be available.

 

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