St Eugene’s Cathedral
Francis Street, Derry
BT48 9AP | Tel: 028 7126 2302
Accord's free and confidential 'Relationships Support Phone Line' for marriages, families and relationships, offers support to those experiencing extra pressure due to social restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The three numbers are:
Accord provides support line is staffed by counsellors from Monday to Friday, 9.00am to 8.00pm, and is available to anyone wanting to talk through a relationship difficulty they are experiencing (calls charged at local rates).
Calls to Accord counsellors are 45 to 60 minutes in duration, with the following issues being highlighted:
Causes of conflict: pressure and stress caused by uncertainty around security of employment; the effect on domestic finances; mental health; living in a confined environment; clashes with other family members due to poor communication; regret at being unable to grieve properly following the death of a loved one; pressure on students arising from changes in exam timetables; challenges associated with having home life converted to an office and a school; emotional impact of constant negative news reporting; and, frustration at the inability to socialise outside.
'Pressure cooker' environment: Accord counsellors have noted that people under stress at home can feel that they are living in a 'pressure cooker' environment. This situation can induce a regression in their behaviour and human interaction suffers. They can overreact to situations which in turn can cause the domestic atmosphere to deteriorate. This type of behaviour can present as either uncomfortable silences and/or very loud, explosive and noisy verbal exchanges.
Effects on children: Young people and children exposed to aggressive behaviour - whether once off or on an ongoing basis - experience fear and distress which in turn affects their personal behaviour and relationships with others. Physical isolation at home can compound trauma.
Vulnerable relationships: couples whose relationships had been under pressure prior to imposition of the COVID-19 restrictions are particularly at risk as their confinement exacerbates existing unresolved relationship issues. Being compelled to remain at home all the time, together, save for essential journeys, is magnifying existing tensions and problems.
Insofar as issues such as bereavement or serious illness impact the couple relationship, callers can discuss these issues with a counsellor on the Support Line. If the issue is about a specific personal bereavement and/or health issue, then referral to a specialist may be required.
If the issue relates to how the household finances are being managed or mismanaged that may be discussed by the caller. However, Accord does not offer financial advice but counsellors have relevant details of national support services which address personal finance problems.
Accord provides resources on its website www.accord.ie, on its Facebook page and on its Twitter account based on feedback from counsellors who have dealt with relationship and family difficulties experienced during these confined times.
ACCORD operates 55 centres throughout Ireland, offering a comprehensive range of support services if you are:
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