Recession causes surge in helpline calls as families break up and lose jobs

The national Askonefamily helpline recorded a 24% increase in calls in 2009 as a direct result of the recession.

"Many lone parents got in touch with us as they lost their jobs and had to go on social welfare for the first time and they needed help navigating their way through the complex system."

Speaking at the launch of One Family's 2009 Annual Report Karen Kiernan, the organisation's Director said that a large part of the 24% increase was due to couples separating as a result of financial stress but frequently unable to physically move out as there was not enough money to do so. "This can lead to huge stress for parents and children and our helpline was able to relieve some of this stress by offering support and a listening ear," she added
 
She went on to explain that the most frequent query to the helpline was in relation to social welfare and many of these were also related to job loss in the current economic downturn. "Many lone parents got in touch with us as they lost their jobs and had to go on social welfare for the first time and they needed help navigating their way through the complex system. Queries about legal issues were also frequent and we are delighted that we have a specialist FLAC family law service running regularly in One Family to support people in this area."
 
2009 was a year in which One Family suffered income cuts like many other charities but continued to deal with more clients, seeing a significant increase also in their counselling service of 15%.
 
Karen Kiernan concluded by saying that, "at a time of economic uncertainty and huge pressure on families it is vital that lifelines like our helpline and support services can continue to operate and meet the needs of parents who are in stress and difficulty."