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Living and Working Conditions

The tripartite EU agency providing knowledge to assist
in the development of better social, employment and
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COVID-19 EU PolicyWatch

Database of national-level responses

Eurofound's COVID-19 EU PolicyWatch collates information on the responses of government and social partners to the crisis, as well as gathering examples of company practices aimed at mitigating the social and economic impacts.

Factsheet for case IE-2020-48/1522 – measures in Ireland

Online mental health service launched for frontline workers

Country Ireland , applies nationwide
Time period Open ended, started on 23 November 2020
Type Other initiatives or policies
Category Protection of workers, adaptation of workplace
– Well-being of workers
Author Roisin Farelly (IRN Publishing) and Eurofound
Case created 01 December 2020 (updated 26 January 2021)

Background information

In November, the Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly launched a new, online professional mental health service to support people working at the frontline during COVID-19.

The service, which is being provided by turn2me with funding from Sláintecare, is free and available for anyone who self identifies as a frontline worker – from healthcare professionals to those working in retail, and from teachers to tradespeople.

Minister Donnelly said; “It has been a difficult year for everyone across the country, but especially for our frontline workers. While the majority of people were asked to stay at home, our frontline workers went to work. Among them were our healthcare professionals who acted selflessly, putting their own health at risk, in order to care for their patients. We owe them, and all frontline workers, a debt of gratitude. These experiences will have taken a toll on many, which is why this online professional mental health service from turn2me is so important. This new service, which is funded by Sláintecare, is free for everyone who identifies as a frontline worker. I would strongly encourage any frontline worker who needs support to put their own health first and to use this service.”

Content of measure

Turn2me provides professional mental health support services entirely online. The new service for frontline workers is a peer support, instant chat service. Each session is facilitated by a mental health professional and supported by trained volunteers.

There are 20 groups available each week and there are job specific groups available, as well as groups based on shared issues such as stress, burnout and how to maintain a healthy work life balance. Groups are scheduled at different times in the day throughout the week to accommodate shift workers, and participants can remain anonymous when online. The content and timings of the groups were developed following consultation and discussion with frontline workers from different disciplines.

Brian Holohan, Clinical Manager with turn2me, said; “Demand for turn2me’s services has increased significantly, at the peak of the pandemic earlier this year for example, demand spiked by 386%. It has been challenging for everyone, but especially for our frontline workers. The adverse psychological impact of working in such stressful circumstances, while at the same time dealing with the reality of Covid-19 in their personal lives, should not be underestimated. There’s a large evidence base that peer support, like the service we’re launching for frontline workers, is effective and that it can also act as a helpful gateway for people who haven’t reached out for help before. If you’ve been struggling in any way, please know that you are not alone and that talking will help. We have a team of mental health professionals and volunteers all over the country who are there to support you. Help is at your fingertips 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.”

Use of measure

No information available to date.

Contents

  • Health and safety

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Workers in essential services
Does not apply to businesses Does not apply to citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
Company / Companies
National funds

Social partners

Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:

Trade unions Employers' organisations
Role No involvement No involvement
Form Not applicable Not applicable

Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:

  • No involvement
  • Main level of involvement: N/A

Involvement

N/A

Views and reactions

N/A

Sources

  • 23 November 2020: Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly TD launches new online professional mental health service for frontline workers (hospitalprofessionalnews.ie)
  • 01 December 2020: Frontline Workers Peer Support Instant Chat (turn2me.ie)

Citation

Eurofound (2020), Online mental health service launched for frontline workers, case IE-2020-48/1522 (measures in Ireland), COVID-19 EU PolicyWatch, Dublin, http://eurofound.link/covid19eupolicywatch

Disclaimer: This information has not been subject to the full Eurofound evaluation, editorial and publication process. All information is preliminary and subject to change.