Dáil debates

Thursday, 29 April 2021

Covid-19, Mental Health and Older People: Statements


10:50 am

Photo of Emer HigginsEmer Higgins (Dublin Mid West, Fine Gael) | Oireachtas source

I extend my congratulations to the Minister, Deputy McEntee, her husband, Paul, and their extended family on the arrival of their new baby boy.

Covid-19 has had an enormous impact on the mental health of the nation. In a year filled with so much isolation, how could our mental health not be affected? In a year of restricted funerals, how could there not be a tailback of grief? The Irish Medical Journalrecently reported on an Irish study that found significant increases in depression, anxiety and stress among Irish people between March and June of last year. That was just a couple of months into restrictions. Sadly, we are now a year into this pandemic, and I have no doubt that the number of people struggling with their mental health has only increased. The past year has tested us like no other and it has been a very dark time for many people. That is why it is so important to remember the reasons for hope. We all expect good news and hope later today from the Government. With the vaccine roll-out reaching more people every day and normal life gradually resuming, I truly believe there are many reasons to hope.

I am part of a volunteer-led Corkagh Park Darkness Into Light committee, a group of amazing volunteers. We were due to have our first Darkness Into Light fund-raising walk last year in Corkagh Park. However, for a second year running, instead we will be celebrating virtually by watching the sun rise on 8 May. We will turn all our volunteers' villages, Lucan, Clondalkin and Rathcoole, yellow to mark the occasion to and to spread the message that after darkness comes light, a message more apt today than ever before. I take this opportunity to reassure all those who are suffering now that this will end. We are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. It is okay not to be okay, but the most important thing is to ask for help.


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