The Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes was established by Government in 2015 to provide a full account of what happened to women and children in Mother and Baby home institutions during the period 1922 to 1998.
A Collaborative Forum was also established to make recommendations relating to health and well-being supports for former residents.
In response to these recommendations, the Government committed to developing a package of health and well-being measures. The importance of ensuring former residents’ mental health and specific need for psychological support was recognised and prioritised.
The National Counselling Service (NCS) was asked to provide counselling to former residents through its counselling locations:
- The HSE’s NCS has 20 years of experience in providing counselling and psychotherapy to a wide range of clients including those who have experienced psychological difficulties due to time spent in institutions.
- Counselling is available face to face, by telephone or online through secure video.
This service is available to adults living in Ireland if you are a former resident of Mother and Baby Homes (mothers or children).
How you can access this service
Access to the National Counselling Service for former residents may be made by direct self-referral. You can do this by referring yourself to the service that is nearest to you.
We will also accept written referrals from health care professionals such as GPs.
Individuals referred will be offered an initial assessment appointment. This to establish if the NCS is the appropriate service to meet a person’s needs at this time. If counselling is appropriate the next available counselling place will be offered.
When making a referral to the NCS it would be helpful to identify if you are a former resident of a mother and baby home. This will ensure you are prioritised for the next available counselling place.
Counselling is available face to face, by telephone or online through secure video. Face to face appointments are limited at present due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Deaf and Hard of Hearing Clients
Counselling is available for Former Residents of Mother and Baby Homes who are deaf or hard of hearing.
You can email your local NCS service or have someone contact your local office on your behalf if you are interested in accessing counselling. Please see contact details below.
An appointment will be arranged for you to meet with a counsellor together with a sign language interpreter.
A face to face appointment may not be possible at present due to COVID-19 restrictions but a video session can be arranged.
Illegal Birth Registration
An independent analysis of adoption records held at St. Patrick's Guild Adoption Society will be carried out under the direction of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs.
This follows the discovery of illegal registration in the records held by the adoption society. It will find out if the practice of illegal registration took place in other Irish adoption services.
If you are impacted by this review, counselling is available. Please see the contact details of your local service and other support options below.
For information on available supports and information on how to access them call the HSE Live team on 1800 817 517.
Their line is open Monday to Friday from 8am to 8pm and on Saturday from 9am to 5pm.
Contact your local Counselling Service
You can find out about your nearest counselling service by contacting the HSE region which looks after your county.
Please see our full list of contact details here.
Outside of office hours
Anonymous telephone support is available from Connect Counselling, a HSE funded service. Freephone 1800 477 477 from 6pm to 10pm every day (7 days a week).
Other Support Options
Visit yourmentalhealth.ie for more mental health support options including phone, text and online. Or call the YourMentalHealth Information Line on 1800 111 888.
The Barnardos Post Adoption helpline is open daily from 9:30am to 4:30pm. Call 01 4546388.
Exploring Adoption, an online course for adults from Barnardos, is open for registration on their website, here.
Barnardos provides a confidential helpline, therapeutic services for adopted children and their families as well as support groups for adopted adults and birth mothers.
Contact 01 4546388 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.