Today, on World Mental Health Day, Crosscare Irish Diaspora Support Project is joining forces with our partner organisations from around the world to raise awareness and provide valuable resources to promote the mental wellbeing of the Irish diaspora.
World Mental Health Day, held annually on 10 October, strives to raise awareness of mental health issues around the world and to mobilise efforts in support of mental health.
At Crosscare Irish Diaspora Support Project, Irish diaspora support is at the heart of what we do. Mental health is a crucial component of emigrant welfare: our website offers resources on minding yourself abroad and wellbeing upon return. Learn from the experiences of members of the Irish diaspora directly in our blogs section. Sydney Rose of Tralee 2023 Aoife Butler’s reflections on mental health and James Parnell’s piece on grief are must-reads.
The global Irish community stretches far and wide, encompassing a range of cultures, backgrounds, and experiences. While this rich diversity is a source of strength, it also means the challenges of our community can vary greatly. Recognising this, for our inaugural World Mental Health Day campaign, we are partnering with emigrant support organisations around the world to spotlight mental health resources designed to address the unique mental health needs of Irish abroad.
Whether you are seeking support, information, or simply hoping to deepen your understanding of mental health, this collaborative effort by the global Irish community aims to empower individuals and promote wellbeing. Our sincere thanks to I/CAN (Irish Canadian Immigration Centre), ICAP, the Irish Pastoral Centre (Boston), and the Irish Support Agency (New South Wales) for their contributions.
Irish Canadian Immigration Centre (I/CAN)
I/CAN (Irish Canadian Immigration Centre) assists diaspora from across the island of Ireland, offering outreach and information, nationally, in three key areas:
- Immigration System Navigation: queries about work permits, visitor status, permanent residency.
- Employment Guidance and Resources: direction on ‘Canadianizing’ resumes (very different from Ireland!), job applications, interview skills, networking, local labour markets, foreign credential recognition, etc.
- Social Services Navigation: national social care program signposting to local providers (healthcare, free and subsidized counselling, addiction services); mental health and wellbeing awareness
I/CAN’s Social Care Program includes:
- one-to-one services offered via phone, email, video conferencing
- outreach and informational events
- digital guides and podcasts
- social media strategy to address the emotional support needs of vulnerable Irish to Canada
I/CAN’s National Social Care Advisor supports new arrivals who are looking for general health, mental health, or wellbeing services, and signposts to relevant information based on individual need.
Tip for World Mental Health Day:
“Wellness Together Canada is a FREE online resource available to anyone living in Canada.
Counsellors are available to take your call 24/7. Call +1-866-585-0445 wellnesstogether.ca/talk
They also provide a range of resources for mental health and substance use, including online self-directed courses. See all resources available here: wellnesstogether.ca
You can always contact I/CAN’s National Social Care Advisor for signposting to mental health services in Canada. Visit our website resources here: I/CAN_Mental Health Resources
Immigrant Counselling and Psychotherapy (ICAP) is a charitable organisation trusted to support the mental health and wellbeing of the Irish community in Britain. We welcome referrals from anyone of Irish descent living in the UK. We pride ourselves on the quality of the service offered and our speed of response. Every call is welcome as it provides us with the opportunity to “change lives.” Our services are confidential.
Offering a national network of therapists, supporting over 200 people a week with culturally sensitive counselling and psychotherapy services, ICAP is a charity dedicated to improving the wellbeing of Irish people living in Britain.
With over 20 years of experience supporting people from Ireland, ICAP has specialist expertise working with survivors of trauma including adult survivors of institutional abuse, and those on low income or who face disadvantage or discrimination.
To find out more about how to access the confidential support and services offered by ICAP, visit https://www.icap.org.uk/our-services/ or call 0207 272 7906.
Irish Pastoral Centre – Boston
The Irish Pastoral Centre – Boston was founded in 1987 offering a comprehensive range of caring and culturally appropriate family, social, legal, spiritual, and educational services to vulnerable and at-risk immigrants, living in Greater Boston.
Adapting to a new country and culture can bring with it many stressors, especially for undocumented clients who often report overwhelming anxiety due to fear of deportation. For many, moving away is a chance to expand our opportunities. However, for some, moving out of Ireland is a chance to escape crippling symptoms related to trauma from societal or family violence, or an escape from generational poverty. The stress of acculturation can lead to isolation and self-medicating, usually with substances that can exacerbate anxiety and depression.
Our Health and Wellness program utilizes Licensed Drug and Alcohol Counselors (LADC I) and Licensed Independent Clinical Social Workers (LICSW) to provide free and confidential consults and treatment. They support individuals and families impacted by anxiety, trauma, interpersonal violence, mood, and substance use disorders by offering crisis case management, and individual counselling (in-person or via telehealth), connecting them with community resources.
We also connect immigrant populations with free or low-cost health care no matter what their status. Some on-site groups include bereavement support, men’s and women’s sobriety meetings, and groups to foster social connections for mother’s and older adults.
IPC Health and Wellness Staff:
Danielle Owen LICSW LADCI
Gina Gallagher LADCI PMH-C
Irish Support Agency (New South Wales)
The Irish Support Agency NSW (ISA) is a not-for-profit organisation providing front-line support to anyone in the Irish-Australian community who finds themselves in circumstances of vulnerability or distress. We also run programs to help promote mental health and wellbeing, social inclusion, and a sense of connection in our community.
For many years, the ISA has had a keen focus on promoting positive mental health, running Mental Health First Aid and Accidental Counsellor training for members of our community groups. These programs empower individuals to support those who are struggling with life’s challenges.
We also deliver a free monthly webinar, Dóchas, with each session designed to explore a different aspect of health and wellbeing. These webinars are guided by the latest evidence and expert facilitators, the large majority of whom are Irish-born. The webinars can be accessed here or on our YouTube channel.
SOLAS is the ISA’s subsidised counselling service open to all members of the Irish Australian community in NSW, linking clients with Irish born/heritage Mental Health Practitioners. Operating throughout the pandemic, this service is now reserved for members of two of the local GAA teams due to funding constraints.
We regularly run Outreach Events which aim to provide a safe space where men and women gather to consider issues of concern. These have offered invaluable opportunities for open discussion and learning as people bravely share their own experience with mental health challenges, addiction, and mental illness.
Learn more about the ISA’s mental health offerings at https://www.irishsupportagency.org.au/mental-health.