The public’s demand for mental health services and outreach for help has drastically increased in just one year, with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic putting an added strain on the mental health of the nation, the Richmond Foundation said at the launch of its fundraising campaign Give the Gift of Therapy. 

In a press conference on Wednesday, the foundation said research showed that the pandemic’s altering effect on daily life impacted the mental wellbeing of many, and it was working harder than ever to provide increased services even as it saw a significant drop in financial revenue. 

There were 3,100 calls made to Richmond’s 1770 helpline this year, an increase of 400% over the calls that had been received by October 2019. 

Therapy hours increased by 35%, up to 4,220 in 2020, while 143 brief intervention sessions were held, marking an increase of 267% on the previous year. 

The Richmond helpline, which has been active for 20 years, this year increased operations to be active 24/7 and in previous years received between 400 and 600 calls per year. 

The year has also seen more people approaching the foundation for therapy, with an increase of 35% in patients who began attending continuous therapy, that is more than one initial session. 

Through its ongoing research in partnership with research company Esprimi, the foundation has found that people’s mental health was increasingly coming under strain due to restrictions on social interaction, with people reporting that they were increasingly concerned about loved ones’ health and experienced increased depressive symptoms.

Young people have also seemed to be the most affected by the changes, with 16-24-year-olds registering an increase in experiencing loneliness among the people surveyed. 

Giving the Gift of Therapy

As a means to continue supporting the expanding services offered to the public, the Richmond Foundation is launching a fundraising campaign and is asking the public to donate funds to keep its services sustainable and free to the people who need them. 

The foundation is offering educational videos for supporting wellbeing, covering topics such as anxiety and stress and how to recognise symptoms and outline the professional support available. 

The videos will be available for a minimum donation of €2, but those who wish to donate more are also free to do so. 

The videos may be accessed here.

A number of other items will also be available for sale, including self-help books, a 2021 calendar and activity book for children, as well as a CD of 50 nostalgic songs covered by Peter Calamatta.

The items can be purchased via email on info@richmond.com.mt or by calling 21669150. 

The products will also be added to Richmond Foundation’s online shop shortly. Free delivery is available for those who are not able to leave their homes.

Independent journalism costs money. Support Times of Malta for the price of a coffee.

Support Us