Conor Shields spoke to the staff at DIT about their new service.
DIT have launched a brand new online web chat service for students to avail of from the comfort of their own homes. 
 
Quick consultations can now be carried out via Google Chat as students can instantly connect with trained counsellors based in almost every DIT campus every morning from 10:00 until 11:00.  Although students can get in contact with counsellors from different DIT campuses, the main hub of the web service is currently based in DIT’s Mountjoy Square offices. 
 
Speaking to Campus.ie, DIT counsellor Catherine Whelan explained that since September, when the service was initially rolled out, they have already seen a minor spike in student engagement.
 
“A few more have been in contact this week, maybe not through the live chat but they are emailing the new address,” said Ms Whelan. 
 
The new messaging system was introduced following another year of high demand for the service from students. Last year, some students had to wait nearly four weeks for an appointment when booking. 
 
“We have been looking at student’s needs in the past and we would be very aware from the past that we have been under pressure, not being able to hit demand and we would have picked up this dissatisfaction from various surveys on that front,” said Ms Whelan. 
 
“We wanted to make the service as accessible as possible, so over the summer we’ve been reflecting on what we do… we wanted to see what way can we start addressing things different,” continued Ms Whelan.
 
It was recently announced by the government that €35 million will be allocated to mental health services across the country as part of Budget 2018. However, there has been much scepticism surrounding this as mental health umbrella groups have claimed that much of this funding was already promised in last year’s budget. 
 
According to the Irish Times, a group by the name of Mental Health Reform have said that Minister for Mental Health and Older People, Jim Daly, had confirmed that  €20 million of the €35 million had already been promised in Budget 2017.