Dublin, 11 June 2020: The Women’s Mental Health Network (WMHN), a joint collaboration between St Patrick’s Mental Health Services (SPMHS) and the National Women’s Council of Ireland (NWCI), will be examining the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on women’s mental health in an upcoming webinar on Friday, 12 June 2020, after a recent CSO survey revealed that women’s wellbeing in Ireland is being more adversely affected by the ongoing public health emergency.
The Unpacking the Impacts: Covid-19 and Women’s Mental Health webinar will draw out the key issues for different groups of women who may be living in especially challenging circumstances.
Panellists for the webinar are Zoe Hughes, Policy and Research Officer at the Care Alliance Ireland; Lisa Marmion, Services Development Manager at Safe Ireland; Toryn Glavin, Founder of the Irish Trans Student Alliance and Trans Engagement Manager at Stonewall; and Liliana Morales, Psychologist with the HSE Psychology Service for Refugees and Asylum Seekers who will share their respective learnings over the past few weeks.
Taking place during National Carer’s Week, the webinar is a timely opportunity to highlight the mental health impacts affecting carers, as recent research by Family Carers Ireland has found that 60% of carers surveyed (of whom 95% were women) were worried about their own mental health.
Webinar panellist Zoe Hughes, Policy and Research Officer at the Care Alliance Ireland, said:
"This year has been especially difficult for family carers, given the impact of Covid-19, restrictions on travel and the withdrawal of vital services and supports for family carers. Family carers are more likely to experience mental health difficulties such as anxiety and depression than the general population, and certainly, we've seen an increase of anxiety across the family caring community. Family carers often feel invisible and this is heightened even more this year, which is why I'm looking forward to taking part in this event, during Carers Week 2020 in which we want to make sure we're #MakingCaringVisible."
Outlining the varied gendered impacts of the pandemic, Dr Cliona Loughnane, NWCI’s Health Coordinator said:
“The coronavirus outbreak is a new and challenging time for many women in Ireland. School and childcare closures have put extra pressure on many women to look after their families and loved ones, this can be especially challenging for lone parents. Women are disproportionately represented in frontline workers in health and retail. Other women in precarious jobs before the pandemic have lost jobs in high numbers. Women in abusive relationships may have been locked down with their abuser, making it a particularly fearful time. We know that the pandemic is not a great leveller. Women in marginalised communities, including Traveller and Roma women, have and will suffer more because a public health emergency amplifies all existing inequalities.”
Louise O’Leary, Advocacy Manager in SPMHS and co-founder of the WMHN, said:
“The impacts of this pandemic has highlighted how important it is for mental health services to be gender-informed, and how a gender perspective will be essential to improve mental health in society. The pending publication of Sharing the Vision, the revised national mental health policy, will hopefully provide an opportunity to ‘build back better’ in this regard by being meaningfully responsive to women’s mental health needs.”
Louise O’Leary added:
“It’s also key to emphasise for anyone who may be struggling with their mental health at present, that services and supports continue to be available and it’s important not to delay seeking help if you need it.”
The WMHN webinar will take place via Zoom from 10am to 11.30am on Friday, 12 June and those wishing to attend can register for free on Eventbrite.