Counselling Service for Former Residents of Mother and Baby Homes

Mother and Baby Institutions Payment Scheme

The Government has announced a payment scheme to provide financial payments and an enhanced medical card in acknowledgement of suffering experienced by those who were resident in Mother and Baby Homes.

Read more information about the scheme and the Governments action plan (

If you are a former resident of a mother and baby home and feel you would benefit from counselling to address the impact of your experiences help is available from the HSE National Counselling Service. See contact details for your local service below.

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

Referral Process

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.

Contact Details

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.

View contact details

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 for more mental health support options including phone, text and online. Or call the YourMentalHealth Information Line on 1800 111 888.

Barnardos provides therapeutic services for adopted children and their families, adopted adults, birth mothers and other birth family members. The service has centres in Cork, Galway and Dublin.

Confidential helpline: 01 454 6388, Tuesday to Thursday, 10am to 1pm.

The service can be contacted Monday to Friday on 01 813 4100, or email