Louise Cooney has opened up about how the coronavirus pandemic has affected her mental health.
The Limerick native spoke exclusively to Goss.ie ahead of Pieta House‘s new free video counselling service launch today (Saturday) for World Mental Health Day.
The influencer revealed the heartbreaking reason she was inspired to use her platform to promote the work of Pieta, which is Ireland’s leading suicide prevention charity.
“I lost a family member to suicide last year and it’s just devastating, something we’ll never get over,” Louise shared, “So I wanted to use my platform to try and help.”
“This new virtual service will help so many people who are struggling as a result of the pandemic.
“Talking about mental health is the only way to break the stigma so I try and do that,” she added.
“Our lives have changed so much – we’re scared, we’re worried, people have lost jobs, family members, huge life events, plans…
“It’s going on far longer than any of us expected it to and we were never going to be prepared for all of these changes.”
Louise was forced to move back to Limerick in March due to the pandemic, after finding her dream apartment in New York.
“It’s been a lot,” she said of the transition, “I’ve felt every emotion under the sun in the last 6 months, like a lot of people I’m sure.”
“I’m a big believer in ‘Everything happens for a reason’, and I know how blessed I am to be home with my family during this time, so I try and focus on that. But it has been a huge adjustment.”
Louise explained: “I haven’t lived at home in my family home in 10 years.”
“It’s been great having this extra time with them, it really has, but at the same time I can’t wait to be able to make plans again – to move into my own place, to travel, to get back to normal.
“Until then we just have to accept this slow chapter of the book, go with the flow, and look after ourselves (and others) in the process.”
Louise has over 210k followers on Instagram, and admitted that she has noticed the negative side of social media – particularly in recent months.
“I have noticed at times that social media can be a negative place, and I see this negativity reflected in the news, and in what’s happening in the world,” she admitted.
“I think people are hurting and all of our lives have changed so much. But at the same time I have seen a lot of empathy, fundraising and positivity, and I really try to focus on that.”
“Being kind online is more important than ever when we’re lacking that normal human interaction we’re used to. We’re all just doing our best to stay safe and stay sane in a time none of us were prepared for.”
Louise also revealed what she’s been doing to take care of her mental health during this difficult period.
“I’ve been trying to listen to uplifting podcasts and audio books, I’ve been writing things down in a journal – both things I’m grateful for and my own personal struggles.
“Exercising really helps me – it gets those good endorphins flowing. And lastly, but most importantly, I talk to people about how I’m feeling,” she added.
Since the beginning of March, and the pandemic, the Pieta crisis helpline has answered over 10,000 calls directly relating to suicide, self-harm, and suicide bereavement.
Their new video counselling service, which consists of a session with a specialist therapist, now aims to bridge the gap for those who may be restricted through lockdown or for whom their local Pieta centre is not yet open due to Covid.
On this week’s episode of #GossChats, Goss.ie Founder Alexandra Ryan chats to Jackie Fox – who lost her daughter Nicole to suicide after being cyber bullied.
Jackie talks about her fight to get Coco’s Law brought into legislation in Ireland – a new law that will make online bullying a criminal offence.
WARNING – episode contains discussion about self-harming and suicide. If this interview affects you in any way please contact Pieta House.
Please free call the Pieta House 24-hour helpline on 1800 247 247. You can also contact the helpline by text – text HELP to 51444.
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