Three in ten young Irish men say they would attend counselling/psychotherapy, according to a survey by the Irish Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (IACP). The association launched “Look After Yourself”, a campaign aiming to normalise attending therapy for young males aged 25-34, and encourage them to seek out help and talk with therapists.
The campaign was officially launched on July 7th in Dublin, through the unveiling of a mural by well-known Irish Illustrator and Street Artist, Joe Caslin. He said:
“The figures that populate my murals are ordinary people, that in turn become spokespeople for their own experiences. The ‘Look After Yourself’ campaign is all about ordinary young males and encouraging them to be vulnerable and speak to a therapist. It isn’t something they should be ashamed of or see as a sign of weakness; it’s actually a sign of huge strength.”
The IACP survey also found a clear gender difference when it comes to seeking help with mental health problems. Two in five women say they would be ‘very likely’ to attend therapy if they were struggling in some way with their mental health. Additionally, only one in nine men has attended a counselling or psychotherapy session compared to one in seven women.
Lisa Molloy, CEO of the IACP said:
“These figures show that young men need to be encouraged to look after their mental health. Our hope with this campaign is that it will motivate them to start talking and asking for help. We want to show them that attending therapy is normal and a safe space for them to be themselves”.
GAA star and founder of the charity Half Time Talk, Philly McMahon and former GAA Dublin Player Shane Carthy have become IACP ambassadors to push the message that being vulnerable is not a sign of weakness.
McMahon commented “Your mental game is just as important as your physical game and the younger generation need to learn this from an early age; that looking after your mental health is key to your overall health. There is no failure in going to see a therapist.”
Fellow ambassador Shane Carthy added:
“We need to take the stigma away from attending therapy. I myself have attended therapy and found it hugely beneficial. I would recommend all young men who feel like they need to get something off their chest to have a chat with a therapist and look after yourself.”
The IACP encourages young males to see therapy as normal and not something that “has to be done”, but rather something you do for yourself. The association represents over 4,500 accredited and CPD certified counsellors and psychotherapists in Ireland. You can find a nation-wide directory of therapists at iacp.ie.