AS WE move into the darker days of Autumn and Winter amid tighter Covid-19 restrictions we can feel sad, anxious, frightened, and even hopeless.

However, it is important to remember that, despite this global pandemic that has changed all our lives so radically, there is always hope.

Hope is the very thing that gives people the courage to pick up the phone to ring a helpline, or to take that very brave first step across the threshold into Aisling Centre.

If you are struggling with difficult emotions, or feel like you want to die, it is really important that you talk to someone.

Lots of people have felt like this and, with help, they have managed to get through it.

No matter how bad you feel, help is available 24/7 if you need it; call the lifeline at 0808 808 8000.

Put this number in your phone now, and then you will have it to hand should you ever need it.

Aisling Centre has been offering hope and healing locally for 30 years through a free, confidential and professional counselling and psychotherapy service.

We are delighted to support the community through this difficult time, and are continuing to offer telephone/e-counselling services alongside some limited face-to-face work.

We are offering on average 100 sessions of counselling per week, with 275 adults and young people attending counselling during the months of lockdown.

Aisling Centre remains a constant amidst all the change that comes with the impact of Covid-19.

When you need to talk, we are here to listen.

Our referral process is very easy; just give us a call at 028 66325811, or download our referral form from the first page of our website, at

Alternatively, if you prefer, you can ask your GP and they can make the referral on your behalf.

It is important to recognise the signs and symptoms and take action early.

In these uncertain and worrying times feelings of stress, anxiety and worry are normal.

In the first instance, the best way for us to deal with this is to speak to those people who are part of our everyday lives – even if just by phone for the time being.

It can be comforting to know that our worries are understood and perhaps even shared.

However, long-term stress, anxiety and a low mood can be harmful and can adversely impact our emotional well-being, and may lead to some people experiencing mental health problems.

The first and often easiest point of contact will be your GP, or one of the many good organisations, like Aisling Centre, that exist locally and that can offer help and support.

It can also help to take preventative action. Be kind to yourself – none of us are perfect; even without Covid-19, life can be difficult, so don’t be too harsh in your judgement of yourself.

Take time to breath, relax and have some fun.

And, if I could give you one piece of advice, it would be to minimise the time you spend listening to the news and social media updates.

Constant and repetitive news and updates can add to stress, anxiety and worry.

Also, make sure that you are getting your information from a reliable source.

Don’t mistake ‘social distance’ for ‘social contact’. We absolutely need to follow the Covid guidelines and maintain the advised social distance but, equally, we should maintain our social contacts, even if that is by telephone, or Facetime, or across a garden wall.

If you are worried about a family member or friend, keep in touch – let them know that you care about them, and that they are not alone; don’t criticise or blame, or minimise their feelings.

You don’t have to ‘fix’ anything for them. Just listen and, if necessary, help them find professional support. And, if needs be, find support for yourself as well.

There are also any number of online resources and classes readily available at this time to help people manage stress and anxiety.

Keep an eye on our Aisling Centre Facebook page, where you will find information about Aisling Centre and other services that are available locally, as well as some helpful hints and tips to help you stay well.

To find out more information about, counselling and other Aisling Centre services, contact the centre at 028 66 325811, or email

You can also visit our Facebook page, or see our website, at