85. Holly Shortall
Designer and illustrator
A couple of different factors in my personal life lead me to seek out a therapist last year. Since then, I have come to realise that a lot of my friends have done or are doing the same, and that none of us have a thing to be ashamed of.
I was lucky to have been in a place of privilege: I work full time, live in Dublin City Centre, and am a straight, white, cis-gendered person who had just been awarded some compensation from a court case. For me, sourcing a therapist was as simple as Googling the closest place to me, and sending an email. I could afford to spend €70 an hour on several hour-long therapy sessions. They helped me get out of the very low place I was in at the time, as it was a temporary feeling.
I am very aware that this is not the case for a large proportion of society seeking help. It is a lot harder to get access to mental health services for example, for those living in Direct Provision, the LGBTQ+ community, people suffering with addiction, disadvantaged adults and children and other vulnerable groups – basically those who are more susceptible to depression and suicidal thoughts and who need that help the most.
It’s vital that the Government and HSE work together to increase access to mental health services, provide more funding to services across the country and ensure that the most vulnerable groups in society are given access to decent care – not just those of us who can afford it. Children in Direct Provision as young as 11 have said they don’t want to live anymore. One third of LGBTQ+ teens in Ireland have attempted suicide. We have the second highest rate of depression in the Western World, and the fourth highest rate of teenage suicide in Europe. All of this while funding to services is being slashed. It’s a scandal and a crisis that requires action.