Looking After Your Mental Health

Mental Health is the emotional and spiritual resilience that enables us to enjoy life and to overcome pain, disappointment and sadness. It is a positive sense of well-being and an underlying belief in our own, and others’ dignity and worth. Anyone can experience mental ill health in the same way as we can experience physical ill health, this can be mild, moderate or severe.
Statistically, 1 in 4 people in Northern Ireland will experience a mental health problem in any given year. There has often been 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.

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.

Be active

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.

Take notice

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.

Keep learning

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