Coronavirus, #NoStigma

17 August, 2020

Stigma prevents people from seeking help: COVID-19 and mental health

When it comes to the mental health impact of the COVID-19 coronavirus, "the picture we're seeing is one where there's going to be an impact on mental health".

Our Chief Executive Officer, Paul Gilligan, joined Susan Keogh on Newstalk FM to discuss an emerging growth in demand for and uptake of mental health services in Ireland following the COVID-19 outbreak.

During the interview, Paul explored how worry about exposure to the virus while attending GPs or hopsitals may have been an obstacle for people seeking support for their mental health, while an underylying concern around stigma may also have prevented people coming forward.

What we saw over the last number of months is people expressing a lot of distress - but, also, remember, people feeling 'I don't want to let myself down, my family down, everybody's coping here, and I'm the one who's seeking help'... if you feel that everybody out there is pulling together to fight this pandemic and you're the one whose looking for help, that can be really difficult.

Mounting concerns

Paul also explained how our most recent Annual Stigma and Attitudes Survey revealed significant concerns around mental health brought on by the ongoing pandemic.


of parents are concerned about the long-term impact of the pandemic on their children's mental health


of respondents say this is the first time that they or a family member has experienced mental health difficulties


said they or a family member have sought help for a mental health difficulty during the pandemic

Seeking help

The growth in demand for services and concerns over the pandemic's impact highlight the importance of ending mental health stigma, Paul explained.

Seeking help

He drew attenion to our #NoStigma campaign, which aims to leave mental health stigma and discrimination behind.

We've tried to reframe that and say "look, if you have a mental health difficulty, it's actually a sign of courage to seek help".

Find out more

See the findings from our Annual Stigma and Attitudes Survey or find out more about our #NoStigma campaign.

Find out more