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[Health Service Executive] Find the #littlethings that protect your mental health. (20 Oct 2014)

  • littlethings can make a big difference to how we feel –
  • New mental health campaign from HSE National Office for Suicide and over 25 partner organisations –
  • yourmentalhealth.ie offers the most comprehensive range of online support services and information –

#Littlethings is the new mental health and wellbeing campaign, launched today (Monday, October 20th) by the HSE’s National Office for Suicide Prevention and a coalition of over 25 partner organisations.  The #littlethings campaign highlights that we all experience difficult times in our lives, and that when we do, there are some simple, evidence-based little things that can make a big difference to how we feel. These #littlethings can help us to cope but there are also supports and services we can use if we need to.

#littlethings answers two key questions that we all need the answers to in order to be able to look after ourselves and others mental health.  

1. What can I do? 

The campaign, developed in conjunction with mental health experts, highlights the evidence based #littlethings that can improve your mental health and wellbeing. The campaign showcases a selection of the #littlethings that are proven to protect and help recover good mental health and wellbeing – like keeping active, talking about problemsconnecting with others going through difficult times, drinking less alcohol, eating and sleeping well.

2. Where can I go?

A new online information resource, yourmentalhealth.ie, has been developed with the support of NOSP and funded partner organisations. This website is now the most comprehensive online directory of support services and information on mental health in Ireland. It is a great place to learn about mental health, and to find out how to support yourself and the people you care about. In addition, there is now one single emotional support freephone number, available at all times, from the Samaritans at 116 123. 

The campaign features real people; Úna-Minh Kavanagh, Robert Carley and Alan O’Mara, who generously share their mental health experiences in a series of animated films and radio ads, in order to help others who may be going through tough times. The campaign encourages everyone to know the #littlethings that are proven to work, and to share the #littlethings that help them.

The campaign was launched by Minister of State with responsibility for Primary Care, Social Care and Mental Health, Kathleen Lynch T.D., at an event where a wide range of voluntary organisations, from the mental health sector and wider society, pledged to support and promote the #littlethings campaign within their communities over the coming years.

Speaking at the launch today Minister Lynch commented; “The commitment of Government to mental health has been set out clearly with 2014 seeing the largest investment to date in mental health and suicide prevention initiatives.  I’m particularly honoured to launch this campaign and it is now essential that we continue to build momentum as individuals, and as a community, to recognise the importance of understanding and protecting our mental health and to avail of the support that is available when it is needed.”

Gerry Raleigh, Director of the HSE National Office of Suicide Prevention, said today “We are very proud of the partnership and commitment that has gone into the creation of this campaign. I would like to thank all of those who have supported its development and will bring the important message of this campaign to people and communities all over Ireland in the months and years ahead. 

We know that when people like Úna, Robert and Alan share their real experiences about how they steered through life’s storms, it gives others a sense of hope.  Talking about what’s wrong, what helped, and about how others supported them – can help others to find the little things that will help them.”

Catherine Brogan, Executive Director of Samaritans Ireland, said; “We, along with the partner organisations, are delighted to have taken part in the development and rollout of this campaign.  As one of the #littlethings says – there is strength in numbers, and all of us feel united behind this simple but powerful campaign, and our shared objectives of improving health and wellbeing and reducing suicide in Ireland.”

The campaign combines real stories, told through animated films and radio messages, describing Una, Robert and Alan’s experience of difficult times, how they felt, and what little things helped them through it.  The ads are supported by a range of print and online illustrations of the #littlethings that are proven to protect and recover good mental health and wellbeing.

Here are the #littlethings that can make a big difference to our mental health and our wellbeing:

Keeping Active – being active every day, something as simple as a walk, is proven to have a positive impact on your mood.

Talking about your problems – problems feel smaller when they are shared with others, without having to be solved or fixed. Just talking about it will do you good.

Looking out for others – Lending an ear to someone else in trouble, or catching up with someone who seems distant, can change their day, or their lives. You don’t have to fix it for them - just listening is a huge help.

Doing things with others – Taking part in a group activity that you enjoy is proven to have a positive impact on how you feel, be it a game of football, joining a choir, volunteering.

Eating healthily – A regular healthy, balanced and nutritious diet will help both your physical, but also your mental health, and have a positive impact on how you feel.

Staying in touch – Catching up with friends and family is good for our mental health, reminding us that we’re part of a community, and having a positive impact on how we feel.

Drinking less alcohol – For the average Irish drinker, reducing alcohol will have a positive impact on their health and mental wellbeing, making it easier to cope with day to day difficulties and stresses.

Sleeping well – Getting a good night’s sleep of 7 or 8 hours, as often as you can, will have a positive impact on how you feel.  Protect your sleep if you can, it will do you good.

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