By Sean Moriarty

An Irish mental health charity in London, which has a Killarney woman as its chief fundraiser, has launched a freephone number to help vulnerable Irish people prepare for the festive season.

Immigrant Counselling and Psychotherapy (ICAP) is aware that many Irish people in London may not be able to get home this Christmas as a result of travel restrictions in both countries.

While ICAP has been forced to close its doors to members of the public, due to social-distancing requirements, it has operated a freephone telephone number where trained therapists are offering support to anyone that needs it. Since the beginning of the pandemic they are fielding over 200 calls a week.

“In response to the pandemic, we established a free telephone helpline which is available to the Irish community,” Tara, who is originally from Aghadoe, said. “The therapists running this new service have spoken with callers from across Britain who contacted us for a myriad of reasons, ranging from stress due to unemployment; to domestic violence and COVID-19 related bereavement. The pandemic has taken its toll on those supporting the community too and we are pleased to have been able to offer expert support to staff members working in other Irish agencies.”

One of ICAP’s main sources of income is the annual dinner dance but it cannot take place this year.

Instead they have launched a Christmas Appeal – donations can be made via VirginMoneyGiving: Christmas Power of Connection Appeal.