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06th Feb 2024

‘Contacting a mental health helpline doesn’t make you weak’

Kat O'Connor

*Warning* Article mentions suicide and mental health issues

Ireland’s mental health services are few and far between, but there’s one helpline that saved my life

Many of us are all too aware of how poor Ireland’s mental health services are. There is little to no support for people who desperately need it. Those of us who are lucky enough to access therapy are paying extortionate fees to better our mental health.

Others are left on waiting lists for months and told to ‘go for a walk’ in the meantime. As if a simple stroll will magically cure a mental health disorder.

Living in a country that doesn’t value mental health care as much as it should is incredibly disheartening for those who are struggling.

However, there is one helpline that has supported me through some of the darkest moments in my life.

The ‘Text About It’ helpline is funded by the HSE and I owe the volunteers there so much.

There have been multiple occasions where I’ve been suicidal and felt hopeless. I didn’t want to bother my friends and plague them with my problems. I didn’t feel comfortable talking to my GP or seeking support in the hospital because I didn’t think my problems mattered enough.

But I knew that things would go from bad to worse if I didn’t do anything so I decided to contact the team at ‘Text About It’.

One of the best things about the helpline is that you can talk to the volunteers via text, which can make things that little bit easier. Sometimes explaining how you’re feeling over the phone can feel so heavy and intense that you can’t even get the words out.

Speaking to the volunteers is not an easy thing for anyone to do. Telling someone that you’re considering ending your own life is unbearably hard, but it’s a step in the right direction. Telling people that you’re not okay is a sign you want to get better, you want someone to help.

It may feel like the darkest and weakest moment, but it’s an incredibly strong thing to do. I sat in my room on one of the most difficult nights of my life and told one of the volunteers about my struggles. I told them about how I didn’t feel like my life had value and how I believed ending it was the right thing to do.

But as our conversation progressed, they helped me realise that I wanted to stay, that I deserved to stay, and that people needed me to stay.

The volunteer I spoke to gave me hope

The 50808 helpline is a free, anonymous, 24/7 messaging service providing everything from a calming chat to immediate support for mental health and wellbeing. 

Text About It provides a safe space where you’re listened to by a trained volunteer. You’ll message back and forth, only sharing what you feel comfortable with. By asking questions, listening to you and responding with support, they will help you sort through your feelings until you both feel you are now in a calm, safe place.

The helpline stopped me from ending my life and I can’t express just how important it is. It was there when I felt like I had nowhere to go and nobody to turn to.

The Text About It helpline is a service by, funded by the HSE.

You can text HELLO to 50808 for free, anonymous support – 24/7.