Guests: Jennifer Griffin and Brian Holohan of Turn2me E-Mental Health
Anonymous support for your mental health from your own computer
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Hello and welcome to the podcast, I’m your host Dave Albert. In the show I talk about technology, building a company as a CTO and co founder and have guests to discuss their roles in technology and entrepreneurship.
Dave: Hi folks and today we are joined by Brian Houlahan and Jennifer Griffin of Turn 2 Me E-Mental Health. Thanks for joining me Brian and Jennifer.
Brian: Thank you.
Jennifer: Thank you, Dave.
Dave: Jennifer, would you give us a little bit of a introduction about you first?
Jennifer: Sure. Yeah. No problem, Dave. My name is Jennifer Griffin. I am a psychotherapist and counselor and General Manager of Turn 2 Me E-Mental Health. And I’ve been working with the organization since the summer and I work with adults, individuals and teenagers 16+ and also couples as well and around a lot of ranges of different mental health needs depending on what people are struggling with.
Dave: All right. Thank you. And you, Brian?
Brian: I am I’m Brian. I’m a counselor psychotherapist as well. I’ve been working with Turn 2 Me for about four and a half years and started as a volunteer counselor and have over a year ago took over as a clinical manager and working with clients online and also in private practice as well. Yeah.
Dave: All right. Great. I’m really happy that you two were able to make time to join us.
Jennifer: Thank you for the opportunity. It’s great to be here.
Dave: Great. So maybe if you could give me a little bit of background on Turn 2 Me and you know how it got started, what it’s about.
Brian: Turn 2 Me started about we’re actually in our 10th year this year. And it started as a result of tragic circumstances with Sam our founders Oisin and Diarmuid Scollard who lost their own brother to suicide 10 years ago. And they felt this because he’d been looking around for supports and that there wasn’t enough kind of services available that they kind of came up with this concept of an online format to be able to kind of provide services outside of the normal kind of hours. Typically kind of people you know, you can only get sick between Monday to Friday. Yeah, this idea of being able to kind of access mental health support, mental health services, peer to peer support online so that it’s easier accessible and that’s where it kind of started over the years we’ve kind of had volunteers we’ve kind of developed and kind of grown this service itself. And we’ve also grown the platform that we use as well. And we now have a three tier model of E-Mental Health support, which is a teller catcher service, which is around peer to peer support. It’s anonymous, you can post what’s happening for you as situation that’s going on, your response to that. And then other members can actually kind of give you support and offer, you know, kind of similar in a way to a Facebook kind of thing where they can actually kind of click like or give a little support kind of whatnot. That’s 365 days a year and 24 seven people can access that. The next year that we have is online support groups, and these are facilitated by mental health professionals and their topic specific on things like anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts and feelings, managing stress, managing anger, family conflicts, and LGBT Q. All of these under adaptable to kind of suit the needs of the community that actually joined. These are anonymous groups again, and it’s all about supporting people. And the idea of finding ways that can actually help them to kind of manage anxiety themselves, empowering people and making them feel that they can actually take take ideas that are shared with other people that they found that work for them and then using those in their own kind of day to day life. And from that, then we have a third tier which is the one to one online counseling and this is free to members in Ireland and outside of Ireland because we’re registered charity were funded through the HSE and asked to be able to kind of provide sessions in Ireland but we do have members from outside of Ireland across the world that can access it on a donation per session basis and it’s done over video live chat, which is instant messaging or email sessions and we also have telephone counselling.
Jennifer: Yeah, that’s it. And as Brian is saying, a really key part of what we do is is working online is really heightened the accessibility of the service. So not just in terms of, you know, where you feel most comfortable to engage, you know, your location, the time of day, and so forth. But also because it’s anonymous actually just helps people to feel a little bit more comfortable coming forward and trying out counseling because this is actually something that our co founders Oisin and Diarmuid discover with their own brother. And it’s something that we’re very passionate about, about reducing stigma and any sense sense of shame or embarrassment of coming forward and getting your mental health needs met. And this really just kind of facilitates that ability for people to kind of be able to to reach out for support without any kind of worry or concern about being judged and usually people find especially very attractive across the board to all genders but we do actually happen to, you know, engage a lot more male members of our community for that reason, because as as, you know, men will sometimes struggle a little bit more around this kind of concern and other kind of members of the community. So LGBT q+ members of the community is also can feel much more free and kind of that they can actually engage with the service in this in this way without feeling that they need to kind of come out or to kind of, you know, share aspects of their experience.
Brian: And that and that’s the thing it’s accessible over, you know, iPads, tablets, mobile phones, laptops, you know, you can be sitting on the train or sitting on a bus and you can access an online support group or you can access the total catcher or have a one to one counseling session. Yeah, you know, we have a lot of people kind of engage in the online and email sessions one to one. So they kind of access those times that works best for them. So they’re able to send it at two o’clock in the morning, you know, I’ll log in the next morning and actually be able to see it and respond to them. But it fits around your own schedule, which makes it very accessible for everybody to to engage with.
Dave: That’s fantastic. Um, you know, in being a member of the startup community, being a co founder and part of the technical community it’s it’s a very much needed service that’s there’s so much there’s still lack of understanding of mental health in both of those spaces. And I think not just that but it’s almost a detriment to people if they bring up their mental health. I mean, you know, when we were starting up the company I went from getting insurance from the people I worked for basically every do it for myself and the queries about all the things that it could possibly affect the way insurance works. Have you ever had anxiety? Have you ever had any mental health? Have you ever had to take any medication for mental health? That almost to me, seems counterproductive in that it will drive people who actually are at risk underground, which turns into being a bigger burden on the insurance companies then, if people were, you know, given the opportunity to discuss and solve their problems in the open.
Jennifer: That’s right. That’s right. Absolutely. I mean, it’s a it’s a much needed service and, you know, to be able to just dial in and and when, when it suits you. And, you know, try out as Brian said, there’s so many different formats as well, you know, that you can actually engage with so you might feel a little bit kind of reticent about maybe doing a face to face session via video counseling or the phone sessions you can actually engage with instant chat and then as you develop the relationship with your counselor, you can decide to kind of shift into a different format if you like. And it’s all private and confidential. Absolutely.
Dave: That’s, that’s really nice, especially like the asynchronous communication ability. You know, especially as a, again, as a startup founder, you never know when you’re really going to have time.
Brian: Well, the the one thing about it is, is that technically, you know, you develop a relationship with your laptop, because you spend so much time working with. You’re glued to it, it becomes an extension of you. So, you know, I’ve had clients, especially across lunchtime, you know, during the workday, and you could be sitting in an office space having your sandwich at your desk, people don’t realize, but you can actually be engaged in an online and live chats counseling session. So you’re getting your support, you’re doing it on your lunch break, and nobody knows what you’re doing. You’re still sitting at the computer but you’re actually using it for something that’s actually helping you to maybe process things dealing with the work situation, or dealing with the isolation because that’s the other thing. If, you know, we live in a, in a world of communication, but we don’t communicate in the same way that we used to, everything is kind of posted online. And it’s kind of fake and all of that so if we’re able to kind of turn it around and use the online space as a way to engage somebody in finding support, you know, peer support is a really, really important part of it. Because then you kind of realize you’re not actually alone. It might be the first time that you kind of talk about, you know, I’m feeling depressed, or I’m feeling anxious, anxious, you know, or I don’t know how I’m feeling and other members can actually come along and point you in a direction that might actually help you. You may not need counseling, but you might benefit from being in a group with other members anonymously, talking about what’s happening and finding out ways they can actually support you. It’s a really accessible kind of thing.
Dave: Sorry, but and also like you were saying about on the train or the bus or whatever. But it can also be at a situation that triggers an emotional event within a person. So if they’re in a crowded place or, or a boss, which can I can give to anybody with any level of mental health to hang on a on public transport can trigger in someway but to be able to instead of staying inside your head and spiraling out of control yeah yeah to be able to you know, reach out to your your online peers or
Brian: Even told you you’re you’re sitting on the bus and you’re kind of going, okay I really do not want to be here. I feel really, really anxious and what is the situation. I’m on the bus to work and then your response to that is joined turn to me to chat to somebody and then other people will see that and kind of go I know how you feel, Oh, my, you know, have you have you thought of this or just breathe or you know, take it easy. That kind of idea helps to distract the person and actually makes them feel a little bit more connected rather than the isolation that you can feel on a packed bus, you know.
Jennifer: Yeah, yeah. And as you said, Dave, as well as linking in with your points, especially around the tech community and, and startup founders, you know, the amount of pressure on people in this line of work. And the beauty of this way of working is that you can schedule you know, to, to engage on multiple levels at different times. It’s actually all of us who are actually probably the, the most busy who have less time for counseling and actually needed the most and we speak, we speak as people who are very busy ourselves you know and actually, that’s always a bit of a warning sign, you know, when you start to see that basic needs, the have can’t be, you know, scheduled in because you just got so much family pressure, so much work pressure, you know, these are the things that we kind of put aside our physical health or mental health, of course, all integrated anyway, both of those that’s actually a little bit of a kind of a little friendly red flag. That actually has probably time to try to connect in and get your needs met. And I think that’s what’s great about this, you know, as Brian said, you can just go on and have a, you know, chat with peers, you can join a group, you can kind of engage in one to one free counseling with instant chat or any other format that feels right for you without feeling that you have to put that aside and not kind of prioritize your health.
Dave: That’s really that’s really good. So for the listeners I happen to find a flyer at the copy machine here at our we work offices where we are both tenants and just happened to reach out asking you know, what, what’s the story with the service was to get a little bit more of an understanding and then thought, Hey, I should talk to them on the podcast to you know, to try to get the word out to people like us startup founders, technical people who are under more pressure than the typical person which not that that necessarily means that you’re at more risk or anything, but that if you were ever at risk, this type of situation will definitely bring it out in you.
Jennifer: Yeah, it’s so true. And also, just like, you will obviously be able to talk so much more meaningfully, than than we will on this. But I think also, you know, again, we’re kind of into tech world ourselves, we have a little bit of understanding, but I think also the kind of the pressure, you know, either conscious or unconscious, you know, to kind of move fast and break things or make stuff happen against the odds. You know, this is another kind of aspects of the of the tech philosophy again, which is part of the way we work as well you know, we’re constantly pressuring and and kind of stretching ourselves possibly beyond maybe human limits, and we like to do that and we’re aware that we do that and there’s the creative excitement around that, but we also have to kind of keep that balance in with our health needs, you know, and I think sometimes we can we tend to kind of push ourselves little bit beyond the limit, it doesn’t mean we’re not going to continue to try to do that. But we can by engaging with mental health services, again completely confidentially anonymously online we can make sure that actually we kind of keep the show on the road, you know, without feeling that we actually are in danger of having a, you know, any type of kind of breakdown or anything like that, you know, because these these things kind of all of a sudden, you know, everything’s working, everything’s fine. And then all of a sudden, one morning you wake up and you know, you can’t get up or you can’t, like, you know, you just feel that you’re just not functioning and you know, what we want to do and this is why having a preventative service like what we have we can kind of get in there early and the counselor and peer support and groups will be able to kind of spot you know what i think you know, you might actually need a little bit of extra support here or a couple of lifestyle you know, tweaks you know, that that could really help you there to be able to do what you love to do without feeling that you’re risking your health.
Dave: Yeah, that’s so not just the break things and move quickly. But also, at least from a lot of the technical side, you spend most of the day being wrong. And it’s not you, just make mistake after mistake after mistake until you fail to success.That can actually be, I guess, you know, I don’t know the technical chemicals in your brain, but the, you know, the serotonin and dopamine so you get those wins but you get so many of the negatives that if you don’t have the right mental framework, then it can it can take a toll on your over over the many years that I’ve had in this
Jennifer :That’s a really good point, actually, in terms of self esteem, you know, and again, it’s so subtle that you don’t necessarily notice that happening. And I think, you know, a lot of us will say, Well, I can handle that, oh, yeah, I can take that I can take that feedback and actually, you know, for being honest with ourselves sometimes, you know, maybe it’s affecting us more than we actually consciously or or aware of.
Dave: I can imagine
Brian: And then that’s where the importance of looking after yourself because Okay, there’s is an Edison or one of these who, who allegedly said, you know, it wasn’t that I failed 1000 times, I discovered 1000 ways, how not to do it and then 1000, the one time that I actually did get it to work, and it is a mindset, but at the same time, when you’re up against, you know, a deadline or trying to get stuff done, and you’re constantly kind of hitting that wall, it is difficult, and that’s why, you know, it’s always good to be able to kind of step back for a little bit, take a deep breath, kind of, you know, regroup and that’s where it kind of the idea of turning to me can actually be a really good help because even stepping away for a moment from what you’re doing, giving yourself a bit of a breather, and then getting back into it can actually help even refresh the way you’re looking at something, get a little bit of support from you know, other members, that kind of thing, even just being able to vent what’s happening and a good safe space.
Jennifer: That’s a really good point actually, is just in terms of how the brain works. Because when we’re really stressed, you know, our brain really isn’t, no matter how clever, intelligent and creative, we are, you know, it’s like that kind of moment in the shower, you know, and all of a sudden, the, you know, the solution kind of pops up when you least expect it, you know, and this is why exercising, connecting in with groups, doing other stuff sometimes is actually not only good for our health, but actually really helps us creatively and to open up the prefrontal cortex and get other kind of ideas of how this problem might be solved. You know, and so that’s actually very..
Brian: Important part and kind of thing, especially if you’re, you know, as you said Dave, startups and being under pressure and having to kind of do things and more that likely the really long hours and all of that that goes with it and if there’s isolation and you’re kind of trying to do things yourself when you are looking at stuff and I and we do it ourselves when we look at the computer you know, for so long during the day and we value the point where we get up and say, right, let’s go get a quick coffee here and just get a breakaway from what we’re doing and it kind of refreshes us to be able to kind of go, Okay, now we can come back here and the brain is going to start working again. We understand that. and we’re only looking at this. so we don’t understand the world of coding or anything like that, which I can only imagine is more intense in itself.
Dave: I don’t know if it would be more intense thinking of trying to debug people.
Jennifer: Exactly. And we embrace the bugs, such as different actually. I mean we embrace the bugs of people is what actually makes us unique. Otherwise we’d be cyborgs or robots so we we like those bugs. We don’t like the tech bugs. We love the human bugs. But yeah, and I think also just again, like thinking about the pressures on people within the tech community, this idea that you know, which is a kind of fantasy out in the in the in the world outside of tech that everything should just work seamlessly. Everything should just work because it’s technology rather than humans, humans and actually, you know, are the difficult ones. But the technology should work, protect people, humans behind the tech are actually having to deal with all of that pressure as well that this needs to work seamlessly at all times. You know, and that’s a kind of an enormous pressure for people to be living under and I’ve gone great in this work and try some of the tech bugs so.
Dave: It doesn’t show.
Jennifer: You won’t be able to see me anyway. So But anyway, it’s it’s just something for us to, to be aware of, and then take care of
Dave: I mean, even in the times we live in, it’s even I say it’s got to be even more of an issue because there’s so much coming at all of us all the time. There’s so many channels of communication there’s so many different methods of input you know the beyond what anybody any you know 10/15 years ago had there’s where there’s more “news” with air quotes coming into you. So you know the the world is getting safer. But it seems like it’s getting less safe because you hear about more catastrophe where you know 20 years ago say 20 years ago you may know of the three or four stories on whichever news station you watch that came on for one half hour to maybe an hour a day as opposed to every single thing that goes wrong in the world coming at you through Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, just people talking about about it at the water cooler, who also got it through all those channels. So there’s, there’s just it’s like people just weren’t designed to have this much input. And so I think that’s got to contribute to the rising levels of depression and anxiety.
Jennifer: Actually another really good point because it’s actually one of the key features of depression and anxiety is social comparison. You know. So we feel that, and especially in a kind of tech startup world, you know, it is very competitive. There’s a lot of comparisons around, you know, what’s being achieved, and how and when that, you know, success and pressure to succeed. And that really is, you know, the major, a major trigger for any kind of mental health distress is when we feel that there’s something wrong with us, or there’s, you know, something that’s not working for us because of comparing ourselves to others. And when these messages are being bombarded, either through social networks or through our own communities and our startup communities or entrepreneurial communities, you know, we really need to kind of kind of step back from that as well.
Dave: That’s kind of how the, your your service of the message board is the opposite of social media. Almost.
Jennifer: That’s true actually
Dave: I’m not better than you. I’m there too.
Jennifer: Yeah, exactly.
Dave: As I was talking to someone yesterday, I can’t remember how the conversation came up. But both of us are well past the entry to adulthood. And we both are still we can’t believe that we’re supposed to be adults. When did that happen? So it’s just, it’s good to know that there are other people. So, you know, thinking in your head, I shouldn’t be an adult. I, you know, I do my job really well. I think this podcast goes pretty well. But I’m responsible for the kids that were raising I there is no, you know, no other layer of Oh, whoops I’m in the real world now. And I mean, you know, I’m, I’m in my mid 40s almost. So when talking to someone else and hearing them say, Yeah, I feel the exact same way. How are we in charge now?
Jennifer: Really the world as well. Actually, that’s big..
Brian: That’s the thing, knowing that you’re actually not alone with that way of thinking. ou know, otherwise people go around and never say that to anybody. Because, you know..
Dave: In my Instagram, I have everything together or you know exactly
Jennifer: In our site think of it as the opposite
Dave: Exactly. All you see on Facebook is the good stuff or the absolute harmonious to stuff, not the today was kind of rough but it was all right. I had some good stuff as the bad. So just like most people do, every day is some good, some bad, but you only see these extremes. And so having a site like this where people can commiserate in a productive way.
Jennifer: That’s right.
Jennifer: In counseling actually, and therapy, there are no good and bad emotions, everything’s neutral from that point of view, everything is equally valid. Any kind of feeling, any kind of experience is actually human. And it’s all a kind of a, an important communication of a kind you know, that we can kind of spend time to kind of slow down and actually try to understand, okay, I’m feeling, you know, a little bit tense right now, or I’m feeling under pressure and feeling, you know, like a big kid, refusing to sick, not wanting to grow up or feeling bored, or whatever it is. And I’m feeling really excited. I’m really happy. It’s not all doom and gloom, we can share all of our kind of positive excited feelings or anything like that. But they’re all they’re all part of the human repertoire. And they’re all equally valid and, and welcome and something that I think is a great kind of relief when you come into counseling to realize that there is no judgment here on any of our feelings or experiences, you know, it’s all part of being alive.
Dave: With what you just said there it reminds me of kind of the philosophies of meditation of not pushing our thoughts but recognizing the thoughts and then letting them go. So it seems like it’s it’s similar with the emotions with a little bit more of a recognize it, understand it. And maybe if there is something that you can do to address the underlying concern of it, then then then pick some actions. So it’s not exactly the same as just let the thought go by, but to not fight the emotions.
Jennifer: Yeah. And not and not to judge. So that’s really where mindfulness comes in. And that way is like it would be very similar to, you know, counseling and psychotherapy, you know, there’s no judgment around the motions we kind of develop a sense of insight into what we’re experiencing without judgment. But then actually what we do is we attune ourselves into what those emotions are actually telling us and even boredom boredom is such an important emotion as well that sometimes we can actually ignore.
Dave: What’s boredom again?
Jennifer: Yeah, exactly. And it will be a little bit different for every single person hopefully you’re not bored listening to this conversation with me but you know, it’s actually really important thing that we can tend to kind of, you know, not pay attention to, but actually such an important feeling. That saying, you know what, something is not quite right. I’m not kind of really feeling, you know my best. I’m not feeling fully satisfied in my life. And you know, it’s one of those emotions that we could then start turning to something else to give us something excited, we can become workaholics, we can become, we can turn to alcohol, we can turn to sex, we can talk to too much shopping, or whatever it might be, you know, these are the kind of things that we will, you know, maybe turn to, to deal with those emotions. So, if we can kind of bring it out into the open either getting peer support or into a group or one to one that we can kind of start to see what the emotion is and then how we’ve been kind of working in handling it that might be making things worse for ourselves. The actual emotion itself is not the problem it’s often how we’re handling it that is actually kind of not helping us, the emotion is fine we just need to kind of you know, here and listen and get it it’s needs me. A more adaptive or healthy ways.
Dave: Yeah. And here I was thinking I wish I could get addicted to exercise and clean the house but then that would not be an actual solution long term now totally a joke listeners don’t..
Jennifer: Get addicted to online counseling, that’s fine. Even that actually we’re actually probably the only professionals that actually celebrate when people don’t actually want to engage with us anymore that actually means that everyone’s happy and feeling good and and we support people around all of that so we’ll be the first ones to notice actually you know if you’re actually you know your grant you don’t you know join a group if you like you know online continue to to connect connect with your peers but you know, you’re fine You don’t need any more counseling you know.
Dave: Yeah that must be great
Jennifer: Yeah, we celebrate that
Brian: Yeah, that’s the rewarding side of it.
Jennifer: When we become obsolete.
Dave: What What is the typical journey that one of your clients would have or so so would they typically come in through the message boards or through the online sessions or or they’re just different types of journeys.
Brian: There’s, I suppose they like any member that would join you register. It’s anonymous, so you can sign up. Some people come in because they’re actually they’ve they’ve done a Google search for online counseling and they kind of tend to bypass the other two and toll catcher and the online support group and they go straight for counseling and and what happens is, you know, you’re able to avail of up to eight free sessions in Ireland and it’s down to the funding that we have, but what happens is and sessions are held over, you know, once a week and it’s done with professional counselors, but typically within the first session, if somebody is coming, let’s say, with depression and and they may not even have a diagnosis themselves, they’re just kind of they’re depressed and they’re saying that themselves, we would kind of work with them within that first session to see how they are see what supports they need, what they’re hoping to get from the sessions, and then actually kind of bring their attention to the idea that they can join one of the online support groups on depression between the sessions so that they’re kind of getting this, you know, wraparound kind of additional support between the sessions that they have and let them be aware of the the tell catcher service and that kind of side of it, so that they’re not just coming into a session and feeling that they have no support outside of that. Whereas typically what happens is in face to face counseling, and we’re not trying to replace that at all. We’re kind of augmenting that and being an addition to it, but you would come to see a counselor face to face you’d work with them, but then you won’t see them for another week. And you may not have any other kind of supports outside of that. Whereas the surface that we have is all around that, that’s ability to be able to kind of engage people with, you know, peer support and online group support, and then have sessions to kind of follow up on after that not everybody needs the eight sessions. And some people may only kind of come for maybe four sessions and it might kind of find that actually, I’m now able to deal with the family conflict and I will more I’ve resolved things I’m not as heartbroken over the breakup of the relationship or whatever it might be maybe anger or something like that. And then there are others that may actually benefit from continuing on and they have an option to continue on with us are they would have an option to that we would kind of refer them maybe on to their GP, our face to face counseling if that’s what the economy
Jennifer: Yeah and basically that’s that’s the beauty of the system. The three tier model that we have, you know, we can meet clients needs wherever they’re at. So, you know, as you say, come through the, the message board and the peer support, you might discover something there or the other way around. You might think, okay, I really need one to one counseling. And then as Brian said, Oh, I can join a group. Or I can actually also kind of use the the online tools as well. So it really depends. So the online tools and the groups are free for everybody. And it’s just the one to ones that there would be a small donation which is very, very low compared to usual fees for people outside of Ireland. So, so yeah, really depends. And then the other great thing about it is that you don’t need to know what you’re feeling. You know, this is another thing that, you know, the diagnostic models sometimes can cause difficulties for people. All you need to know is, you know, is I’m just not feeling myself I don’t need to know whether I’m stressed or down or depressed or anxious, or all of the above all we need to know to engage is that I’m just not feeling myself. Something just doesn’t feel right. I might want to explore what that is. You know, and I can go and meet a counselor one to one if I like and find out, you know, without any kind of need to do any homework or to know anything about it, just just to be able to share and open up and then the counselor will will support you to understand your experience, and then help you, you know, LinkedIn with other supports, if they will be useful.
Brian: Yeah, you say it’s kind of a, it’s a nice way to kind of dip your toe into it. If you’ve kind of been afraid of the idea of actually making an appointment to see a counselor, you know, this service makes it more accessible because you’re not actually looking at the counselor. Unless you choose video, you’re actually able to engage with them in alive instant chat messaging, private chat box, and then you can find that you can actually open up and talk about things that maybe you wouldn’t have talked about before. So it it helps to break the stigma a little bit. It kind of opens people up to be able to kind of go well, actually, now I’ve talked about this. It doesn’t seem as scary anymore. And that’s why the peer support is a really important thing. Because, as you said, Dave, you know, the idea of knowing that you’re not the only person that kind of feels like, you know, adulthood. With this kind of way of realizing that actually, you know, I can come on to this message board and actually post a comment about how I’m really feeling it’s anonymous. And rather than having to kind of pretend to be feeling wonderful, you know, on Instagram or anything like that, the idea that I could be real and then suddenly find that actually, there’s a string of other people that are, they’re able to say, Yep, yeah, have you done this? I’m there a new exactly how you feel? Yeah, that’s reassuring.
Jennifer: Really is. It’s very moving as well. Because you have an experience of being accepted for who you are, you know, as a unique human being, experiencing, you know, a range of different feelings like all of us, you know, and it’s, it’s about that kind of acceptance. It’s, it’s kind of not only non judgmental, but you really get a sense that it’s actually okay to be who you are and what experiencing and to have that freedom to explore what that means, you know, in an open way to help you understand your experience, it can actually be very enjoyable. It’s not something that has to be painful or difficult. Sometimes we feel some pain when we’re going through this process. But it’s a creative kind of opportunity to understand what that is. And to channel that in a way that will actually, you know, help us to live the life we want to live.
Dave: And the pain of working through it overall, has to improve the situation as opposed to leaving it and hoping it goes away and the situation is getting worse and worse, and then you actually end up with more pain than if you’re sort of the problem.
Jennifer: That’s it. I mean, it’s about the emotion of interest, So the pain is not the problem. It’s actually how we’re kind of either avoiding it or not dealing with it or finding other kind of ways of managing it that actually is making us worse, feel worse. So the pain itself is not a problem. It’s usually how we how we respond to it or not as the case may be so, yeah.
Dave: What what are the plans for Turn 2 Me over, I don’t know, the next year, two years, five years.
Brian: Take over the world, dominate.
Jennifer: Yeah exactly. Domination plans, we actually we’re constantly innovating and creating and as is why we have to mind our own health as well, because we’ve got so many ideas and so many things we want to do that we also have to, you know, to get all of our kind of support needs met as well. So quite a few. We’re going to be launching a youth service for ages 13+ we’re also developing a service for couples as well because this is another kind of issue couples have a difficulty getting couples counseling and therapy because accessibility needs and time and space and, you know, scheduling and all that you can imagine if you’re just one person trying to schedule in mental health appointments for two people and to people who are in a relationship who work in tech as well, that’s another whole kind of area that can be difficult.
Dave: Or for those with entrepreneurial, entrepreneurial widows and widowers.
Jennifer: That’s right, that’s true.
Dave: So my poor wife will probably want us to do this. Since I’m sure she feels like a single mother of three
Jennifer: It’s actually really good point.
Dave: I have very little we have no family here in Ireland being both from the US and I work constantly. So I’m sure there is there are some tools that we could use to improve that.
Jennifer: Exactly. And then we’re very excited. We were developing kind of some new innovations with the Irish traveling community at the moment and just working with the community across Ireland to look at, again, what the barriers are for coming forward and engaging with mental health support and looking at the whole service to see what can be better, what can be improved, what new ideas they have that actually that they would like to see. So that it makes it easier for them to, to engage. So that’s another really extremely important project that we’ve just started this this year.
Dave: Great, for those that aren’t from Ireland. Can you talk just a little bit about what the traveling community is just in general, just so that they can get an idea?
Jennifer: Yeah, well, actually extremely important communities, communities within our overall Irish community, and basically the travel community kind of would experience probably some of the most stigma, stigma and kind of judgment and fear of coming forward because of the kind of institutional and community based racism and bigotry towards the community.
Brian: Irish traveling community and I suppose the Roma community would have been essentially nomadic and traveled around Ireland and their life would have been, you know, traveling to town to town, and kind of repairing things are doing things like that. And, and because of their, their culture differs from as they would call them, settled people, you know, people living in houses and that there, they have their own recognized language. They have their own culture, their own history, but at the same time, they’re ostracized an awful lot, they’re no longer allowed to kind of pitch up attend our caravan at the side of the road in Ireland, their designated holding sites as they’re called, where they can live and the only way that they can actually embody their their community of traveling and that kind of thing is that if they want to kind of decide that they’re going to do almost like a house swap in a sense. They will travel on the road with their caravan all the way up to another part of Ireland and somebody else might travel on. And they do this during the summertime. So they kind of get to travel around. But it is it is a culture that they’ve been fighting for, for decades for recognition. And there’s unfortunately a high kind of race of suicide with traveling men, males from the community. And like with a lot of men across the board, and in all aspects, they’re reluctant to engage in, you know, counseling or support, they don’t tend to talk about these things. So the idea that the service that we’re looking to build with the community is so that we can kind of maybe find a way to actually bridge that gap to be able to help them engage and maybe, you know, as they’re moving around different areas that they might not have access to face to face counseling, but the we can actually try and support that in a way that will work for them. So we’re kind of trying to innovate a mass on it. So it’s a huge kind of thing, but a hugely exciting at the same time.
Jennifer: Yeah, yeah, that’s the thing. It’s not really any guys will know this much better than us. But it’s not really a case that you just build something and people will will come, you know,we need to kind of look at, you know, what barriers there are, you know, for people because the services there for everybody, but there will be some kind of other barriers that make it difficult for people to come forward. And that’s the thing we don’t want to kind of make assumptions that this one size fits all we need to to look at where we need to innovate and and engage
Dave: So before we wrap it up, because I think we’re running out of time what what would you ask the listeners to do, what sorts of things should they do if they need the services or if they actually don’t think that they themselves needs the service.
Brian: Well we would invite everybody to check it out. The website is www.turn2me.org check it, check it out, it’s it’s there, you never know you might need it or somebody else that you know might actually benefit from it. The one thing about it is it’s about letting people be aware that there is supports out there a lot of the time it’s about, you know, people don’t tend to talk about how they feel and the the issues of isolation and everything else. This is something that you can access anywhere and that says, you know, it’s just a way of reaching out to people.
Jennifer: Exactly. That’s number one is, is, you know, engaging with the support services that are there and it’s there 24/7, 365 days a year. So that’s number one. And also members of the of the community, you know, listeners, you know, who want to get in touch with us and volunteer with us. We’re always very happy to speak to like minded people who can kind of work with us around maybe some tech innovations or some ideas or donations for for anybody who might need some kind of counseling out there or you know, some some donations that people feel they want to make to to help us to kind of improve, improve the service and to innovate further because that’s the one thing we do get funding for to provide the counseling service but on the technology side, we’ve had to fund that ourselves because it’s just not part of the traditional mental health model. So that’s something that we want to continue to make sure we innovate so any ideas or volunteering or donations very gratefully received and in that case, anybody is interested please do feel free to get in touch with Brian and myself [email protected]
Dave: And I’ll put all those all the links in the show notes but also if any of you listeners have yourselves or anyone you know been affected by any sort of mental illness or issues that could have been helped with something like this. Please share this. So I you know, this has been around for 10 years, I’ve been in Ireland about 10 years. And I only happened on the existence because there was a flyer at a copy machine. So share it on Twitter, share it on Facebook instead of some nonsense post that isn’t true with fake news or whatever, share this share I mean, even if it’s not the podcast episode, I don’t care, share the website, share their social media share everywhere you can because you never know who you’re going to help. You might actually save someone’s life.
Jennifer: Yeah, yeah, that’s actually a very good point. Absolutely. And it’s just that that kind of idea that’s in your mind that you know that there’s somewhere to turn in your moment in need. That’s the central point.
Dave: Yeah, thank you so much for joining me. And thanks everyone, for listening.
Jennifer: Thank you.
Until next time, remember any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.