A consortium of community, voluntary and statutory organisations are working together to support Inishowen families who are affected by MICA.  Inishowen Family Action Network (IFAN) – MICA Subgroup, coordinated by Inishowen Development Partnership, have introduced a number of new supports that can be accessed immediately for families. 

Recently a new pilot programme offering FREE counselling services has been established.  The counselling is available at various locations around the peninsula in Buncrana, Carndonagh and Moville, but there is also the option of availing of online sessions, if that is preferred.  The counselling, which is funded by TULSA, is available to adults and children (7+yrs) and is provided through counsellors working with Moville Family Resource Centre and Lifeline. 

Denise McCool, Project Officer at IDP says, “IDP and the IFAN members wanted to help support our community as we are all seeing first-hand the impact, worry and ongoing pressure families are living within our area.  The IFAN-MICA subgroup recently carried out a survey on the needs of these families, and mental health supports was a top priority for most.  We are encouraging families affected by MICA to avail of this pilot programme of free counselling. It is a limited service but will be of value.” 

Marty Keeney, Tusla, and member of the IFAN MICA subgroup explains, “It is about providing a listening ear, giving family members their own space to share their thoughts and feelings about how this crisis is affecting them.  We believe that by starting the counselling process early, it will not only help individuals deal with the stress of the current situation but also to build resilience for the challenges that lie ahead.”  

Shauna McClenaghan, Joint CEO of IDP adds, “IFAN has been in existence for a number of years, providing coordinated supports to families and children in our community.  We were fortunate, in a sense, to already have the network established so that we could react and be there for our community by working together to provide meaningful supports such as the recent workshops and training, and now the new free counselling service”.

For further information or to book a counselling session, call Inishowen Development Partnership office on (074) 9362218.  Confidentiality is guaranteed, and staff will take your contact details before referring you to the relevant counselling provider. 

IFAN-MICA Reaching Out Through Other Supports

Several households and support services have recently completed a ‘Community Resilience Training’ programme, which was designed to support those affected by MICA.  The programme, which was funded by The Housing Agency, helps people manage and respond to stress, anxiety and feeling overwhelmed.  Feedback from participants has been very positive.  It is hoped that this training will run again, subject to funding.

Following a link initiated by a mother affected by MICA, IFAN and MAG recently organised for families and representatives to take part in the successful parenting podcast ‘Asking For A Parent’ with Dr. Colman Noctor.  A Child and Adolescent Psychoanalytical Psychotherapist who has worked across a range of Child & Adolescent Mental Health Services, both in Ireland and abroad,  Dr. Noctor says in his introduction to the podcast that he was struck by the stories of children who have been affected by the Mica crisis.  “The stories of children too anxious to sleep at night, for fear of their house caving in was heart-wrenching”.  In the podcast, he offers advice to Inishowen parents and educators on the arising issues and concerns they are finding from children and adolescents in the home and in the school environment, including mental health concerns, anxiety and dealing with uncertainty. 

The podcast is now available on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/episode/3dzU3fJqNjYwH2mT75m70D?si=Wl7Ug4m4Rru-Ht9PssMf1Q