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.
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
- Useful Websites
Free Online Training to Support Your Mental Health
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.
World Mental Health Day
This World Mental Health Day, we’re asking you to re-connect with someone you haven’t spoken to in a while – a friend, a family member, a work colleague or someone living alone. Use the postcard to invite them to join you for a cuppa and a chat – either on the phone or on Zoom! Print off the poster and put it in your place of work or home and use it to get the conversation started. Make a point of doing this regularly.
To find out more about how to make the most of connecting with others over a coffee and to download your resource pack and recipes , visit ‘Tea and Talk’ at www.mentalhealth.org.uk