Minister for Mental Health Launches New Counselling Rooms

Simon Sure Steps Counselling Service is provided for people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

The Minister for Mental Health and Older People, Helen McEntee TD, today (02 November) officially opened a new suite of community-based counselling rooms, provided as part of Dublin Simon Community’s Sure Steps Counselling service for people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. The opening also saw the publication of a report into the impact of Simon’s counselling service, reviewing the Sure Steps model, its service delivery and outcomes

Following the initiation of their Sure Steps Counselling service in 2012, the charity saw the need to expand the service and secured a location in Dublin 8 to facilitate the increasing demand for counselling support.

Speaking at the event, Sam McGuinness from the Dublin Simon Community said:

“The expansion of our Sure Step Counselling service is in response to the high demand for this vital mental health support. In 2015 we saw a 71% increase in the numbers accessing this service, where we provided 1,712 hours of 1:1 counselling and mental health support to people in our services. Between 2012 and 2015, 659 cases were received by the Counselling and during first six months of this year it received 167 referrals.

“The service we are launching today is in a community setting to provide counselling for those clients linking with our outreach teams such as Support to Live Independently and Tenant Information and Support Service, and our Aftercare service. In addition to one-to-one counselling, Sure Steps offers supports to clients across Dublin Simon Community’s housing and treatment services including drop-in clinics, crisis intervention and group training such as WRAP (Wellness Recovery Action Planning). On-demand crisis intervention for people with suicidal ideation or who are in emotional distress and a variety of emotional wellbeing groups are also provided.”

Mr. McGuinness continued:

“Homelessness leaves people isolated and alone, feelings which increase during difficult times, therefore it is vital to provide a supportive service that is accessible to our clients. 32% of clients referred to the service between 2013 and 2015 gave mental health as their main support need, with 30% identifying addiction issues. The main success of this service is that counselling and mental health support is directed to where our clients are, with flexible session times and lengths. We have removed barriers and relaxed traditional boundaries that act as blocks to accessing mainstream counselling services.”

Speaking about the service, Minister McEntee said:

“A large percentage of people who are homeless have been exposed to some form of previous trauma, and can often have severe mental health and substance use issues. Sadly, the consequences of these traumatic experiences make it difficult to cope with the numerous hurdles they have to master in order to exit homelessness. It is because of this, we know that bricks and mortar alone will not solve the housing crisis and this support is vital to ensure that people can address what circumstances brought them to be where they are and provide the emotional supports for them to recover from the detrimental impact of homelessness. Through this service and many more housing and supports that they offer, Dublin Simon Community give people the key to a new start, helping them leave the trauma of homelessness behind, and move towards a future filled with hope.”

Sam McGuinness went on to outline future plans for their specialist and treatment services:

“In addition to expanding our counselling services we have plans to expand and further develop our addiction treatment facilities based at Ushers Island. This expansion is to include providing low to no threshold health and addiction specific services for people who are homeless to improve access to health services. This, along with provision of bespoke addiction treatment services such as rapid access stabilisation and detox services, crisis mental health beds, step up step down beds and addiction recovery beds, will ensure our clients can attend a range of physical and mental health supports, facilitating them moving out of homelessness to a secure home.”

Key Stats on Simon’s Sure Steps Counselling Service

  • 71% increase in the numbers accessing its Sure Steps Counselling service between 2014-2015
  • 1,712 hours of 1:1 counselling and mental health support provided in 2015.
  • 659 cases were received by the Counselling service between 2012 – 2015
  • Between 2013-2015, 70% of clients were male and 30% were female.
  • Between 2013-2015, reasons for attending were highlighted as needing support for Mental Health (32%), Addiction (30%), Grief/Bereavement (19%), Relationships (7%).

Find out more about the services provided by the Simon Counselling Service.

Support Simon and services like the Sure Steps Counselling Service by clicking here.

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