Looking After Your Mental Health and Wellbeing
Good mental health is every bit as important as good physical health and maintaining it should be a priority for us all.
However, like physical health problems, anyone can experience mental ill health and this can be mild, moderate or severe.
- 1 in 4 people in Northern Ireland will experience a mental health issue
- 1 in 10 children and young people experience emotional issues. 1 in 6 have signs of an eating disorder. 10% have self-harmed
- 39% of people in NI have experienced trauma relating to the Troubles and this can often be seen across generations
- 1 in 5 people in NI report feeling lonely
- Covid-19 has significantly affected the mental health of the population of NI and will continue to impact for years to come
- 5 people die from suicide every week – 70% of these are not known to mental health services
Despite this, there is still a reluctance to talk about our emotions for fear of being judged or being seen as weak, but most people struggle with their mental health and emotions at some time in their life. This can be because of life events such as money worries, relationship difficulties, loss or unemployment. Poor self-esteem, isolation and loneliness can also affect how we feel.
- Northern Ireland strategies
If you are worried that someone may be suicidal, please seek help immediately.
Lifeline is a crisis response helpline service operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you’re in distress or despair, you can call Lifeline on 0808 808 8000 and talk to an experienced counsellor in confidence. For more information visit www.lifelinehelpline.info
Signposting for Support
For more information and signposting to support visit Minding Your Head Helplines NI – support including information, advice, counselling, listening ear and befriending services.
The Community Wellbeing Online Hub offers a range of information, self-help guides and ways to access help and support.
Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Training
See the current Health Improvement, Equality and Involvement training brochure and the Creating Hope through Action guide to free mental wellbeing training
Take Five Steps to Wellbeing
Being resilient can really help…
Take 5 is the Public Health Agency’s framework for mental wellbeing. The Take 5 steps are:
Connect with the people around you: family, friends, colleagues and neighbours at home, work, school or in your local community. Think of these relationships as the cornerstones of your life and spend time developing them. Building these connections will support and enrich you every day.
Go for a walk or run, cycle, play a game, garden or dance. Exercising makes you feel good. Most importantly, discover a physical activity that you enjoy; one that suits your level of mobility and fitness.
Stop, pause, or take a moment to look around you. What can you see, feel, smell or even taste? Look for beautiful, new, unusual or extraordinary things in your everyday life and think about how that makes you feel.
Don’t be afraid to try something new, rediscover an old hobby or sign up for a course. Take on a different responsibility, fix a bike, and learn to play an instrument or how to cook your favourite food. Set a challenge you will enjoy. Learning new things will make you more confident, as well as being fun to do.
Do something nice for a friend or stranger, thank someone, smile, volunteer your time or consider joining a community group. Seeing yourself and your happiness linked to the wider community can be incredibly rewarding and will create connections with the people around you.
However, It is really important to seek help if you are concerned about yourself or someone you know. Talk to your GP or there are many local services that offer support.
Click here to see directories of mental health and suicide prevention services for all five Trust areas.
Mental Health Helplines
Lifeline is a crisis-response helpline service operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you are in distress or despair, you can call Lifeline on 0808 808 8000 and talk to an experienced counsellor in confidence.
Samaritans; A safe space for you to talk: 116 123
If you are a child or young person, you can talk to Childline by phoning: 0800 1111 for free, 24hours a day or online at www.childline.org.uk
24 hour Domestic and Sexual Violence Helpline: Free phone support, advice and signposting for men and women: 0808 802 1414
NSPCC helpline; helping adults protect children 0808 800 5000
Inspire Workplace helpline (formerly Carecall): 0808 800 0002
For all other local helplines for a variety of services in Northern Ireland, please visit Helplines Network NI
CRIS - Crisis Resources Information and Support Provider
CRIS – The Crisis Resources Information and Support Provider leaflet is designed to help people who may be suffering from mental health issues.
We would encourage people to wait and be treated when they present to our Emergency Departments. However, if people decide not to stay in ED, the leaflet will provide contact details for relevant mental health services in their area.
If you are worried about your mental health, this card provides details of supports you can access.
Free Online Training
Zero Suicide Alliance Training
Zero Suicide Alliance offers a free ‘3 step’ awareness training programme which provides a better understanding of the signs to look out for and the skills required to approach someone who is struggling, whether that be through social isolation or suicidal thoughts.
Psychological First Aid
Psychological first aid is a simple, yet powerful way of helping someone in distress during and after a crisis like the COVID 19 pandemic. It involves paying attention to the person’s reactions, active listening and if relevant, practical assistance to help address immediate problems and basic needs.
The Public Health Agency funds free Stress Control programmes that teach skills and techniques for managing stress. Topics covered include what stress is, controlling your body, controlling your thoughts, controlling your actions, managing panicky feelings, getting a good night’s sleep and planning for the future.
Living Life to the Full
This is a six week programme using a CBT approach. It introduces participants to the ‘Five Areas Approach’ which illustrates that events and situations in our lives affect how we think, how we feel, how we behave and also affect us physically.
There is a recovery college in each Trust are that offers free courses and workshops that support people to better understand and manage their mental health and wellbeing. All courses are written and delivered by people with lied experience of mental health issues in partnership with those who have professional experience and knowledge. The free courses are open to everyone who is interested in good mental health.
- Useful websites
- Useful Information
For more information on Mental Health and Wellbeing, please contact the Health Improvement, Equality and Involvement Department on;
Phone: 028 7186 5127