85. Holly Shor­tall

De­signer and il­lus­tra­tor

Hot Press - - 100 Voices On Mental Health -

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.

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