This week sees the launch of the first ever Relationships Week, bringing together voices from across the UK to highlight the importance of healthy relationships in our lives.

A UK wide survey* has revealed that almost 60% of people in Northern Ireland believe that relationships with loved ones is what has got them through the health crisis**.

The survey was commissioned by Northern Ireland’s leading relationship support charity, Relate NI and colleagues in England, Scotland and Wales. The findings show across couple, family and social relationships, people have had a range of ‘relationship realisations’ – many positive and some more challenging.

The parent relationship proved to be key with over half of respondents expressing that they feel closer to their parents than before.

The survey also highlighted:

  • 31% of respondents in Northern Ireland who have a partner believe money will be the biggest issue for their relationship as a result of lockdown.
  • 54% of respondents in Northern Ireland have enjoyed not having the pressure to socialise.
  • 50% of the Northern Ireland respondents say they feel more comfortable having open and honest conversations on difficult issues with loved ones compared to 36% in Scotland.

Relate conducted the Covid-19 Relationship Survey across the UK in June with over 2,000 people participating. In Northern Ireland, 102 responses were received.

The survey results have been released to coincide with the launch of the first ever National Relationships Week, beginning today. The charity is hoping to start conversations on relationships, about how they have helped people during the Covid-19 period, or to discuss issues that may have been pushed aside in the midst of the pandemic.

Chief Executive of Relate NI, Duane Farrell said:


“Relationships are clearly central to our health and wellbeing. The survey findings highlight the crucial role that all types of relationships have had during the lockdown period, from parents, to partners and friends. In so many cases we can see that relationships are what have gotten us through lockdown.


“Without doubt, Covid-19 has been the biggest test to relationships in recent history. Many families and friendships were put under new pressures, but the bonds were also vital for many to get through this life-altering pandemic.


“We are also encouraged to the see that many couple-relationships have been strengthened during lockdown. This has been a testing time for many couples, with lots of them working from home and often with insufficient space, creating the possibility of new challenges and expectations between partners. With over 50% people saying they do not believe their relationship will change post-lockdown, it shows that many in Northern Ireland have bolstered their relationships during the health crisis.


“As we move into the next phase of the pandemic, now is the time to focus on new strengths many have built into their relationships and the benefits of opening up to loved ones to strengthen bonds further. This is why we are launching the inaugural Relationships Week. It will encourage those across Northern Ireland to celebrate the best of their lockdown relationship realisations and address the more difficult ones.


“Relate NI is encouraging everyone to start a conversation about their relationships this week, whether it’s to thank someone for their support during lockdown or to begin addressing issues that have been swept under the carpet in recent months. We are also asking people to nominate their #relationshiprocks, the people who have helped them through lockdown, on social media channels.


“Relate NI services are there to help people who are struggling with any aspects of their family, couple or social relationships, and we are delighted that through our partnership with The Charity for Civil Servants to be able to provide access to 4 funded sessions for civil servants and their dependants.”

*The research was conducted online from 26 June- 3 July 2020 by Censuswide, with a sample of 2,058 adults (aged 16+), 102 of which were in the Northern Ireland. The sample was weighted to be nationally representative.

**58% respondents in Northern Ireland somewhat or strongly agreed with the statement: ‘My relationships with loved ones has helped me get through lockdown’

In Northern Ireland, Relate NI has recently partnered with 15 other mental health charities, the Public Health Agency and the Departments for Communities and Health to deliver the Covid Wellbeing NI hub, an online resource with tools to help cope with the impact of Covid-19 on mental health and wellbeing. To find out more visit:

COVID Wellbeing NI Hub


The COVID Wellbeing NI hub has partnered with Relate NI on the topic of Relationships this week. Healthy relationships are important to help us cope with the challenges of the Covid pandemic. Relate NI shares tips and advice on how to reduce the impact Coronavirus has on you and your family.


Further help & information

If you feel COVID-19 has impacted your relationships and you need help, the Charity for Civil Servants has partnered with Relate to provide Civil Servants and their dependents up to 4 free webcam or telephone counselling sessions.

Further information on support available for staff can be found on the COVID-19 Staff Information and Advice hub.

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