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Health Service Executive. (2023) HSE Talking health and wellbeing podcast. Dublin: Health Service Executive.

External website: https://hsepodcasts.podbean.com/

Listen to the HSE Talking Health and Wellbeing Podcast with interviews and insights on the work underway by HSE Health and Wellbeing and their partners to deliver on the Healthy Ireland ambition of supporting, protecting and empowering individuals, families and their communities to achieve their full health potential.

#01 Sláintecare healthy communities - In this podcast, we focus on the Sláintecare Healthy Communities Programme to give some insights about how implementation of this new health inequality programme is progressing with Ger Fahy HSE Limerick Sláintecare Healthy Community Coordinator and Mairead Carney, Sláintecare Healthy Community Local Development Officer with Mayo County Council. Hosted by Fergal Fox.

#02 Health and Wellbeing in the GAA - In this episode we hear from Colin Regan, the GAA’s Community and Health Manager who tells us all about the Healthy Club programme in the GAA, how it has developed in recent years and the ambition to have GAA clubs support their communities by being hubs for health and wellbeing. Hosted by Fergal Fox.

#03 Tobacco Free Ireland - In this episode listen to Sarah Halpin talk us through her journey from smoker to ‘We Can Quit’ Community Facilitator, where she is now helping others to stop smoking through the free HSE Quit supports. We also hear from Dr. Paul Kavanagh, HSE’s Public Health Clinical Advisor on Tobacco who shares his thoughts about the current smoking and vaping situation in Ireland today and the plans for a Tobacco Free Ireland. Hosted by Noreen Turley.

#04 Men’s Health - In this episode listen to Dr. Noel Richardson, Director of the National Centre for Men’s Health in South East Technological University (SETU), as he talks to us about why we need to and how we can, focus on men’s health. He also speaks candidly about his own Parkinson’s diagnosis and how important it is to make supports for men’s health as accessible as possible. Hosted by Fergal Fox.

#05 Living Well Programme - In this episode, hosted by Eamon Keogh, we talk about the Living Well Programme, a free group self-management programme to help people manage their long-term health condition. Tommy, shares his experience of participating in the programme, his personal challenges and how the programme offered practical help and support. Liz Cox, a Living Well Leader, talks to us about the structure of the programme and what people considering joining can expect. Mary Gowing, a Self Management Support Coordinator for Long-term Health Conditions discusses the history of the Living Well programme, its origins and explains more about what a long term health condition is.

#06 Alcohol Action Ireland - In this episode listen to Dr. Sheila Gilheaney, CEO of Alcohol Action Ireland as she describes the work underway to reduce the harm from alcohol in Ireland. Hosted by Noreen Turley, Sheila shares excellent insights into the policy areas needing attention as she works in collaboration with the HSE to promote a healthier response to alcohol.

#07 Staff choirs - The latest episode of the HSE Talking Health and Wellbeing Podcast hears a heart-warming conversation with Alison Baker Kerrigan and host Fergal Fox, who both share their experience and insights from singing in workplace choirs in the health service. Alison, who works as Arts Officer in Tallaght University Hospital and takes part in their Heartbeats Choir, shares her experience of working with her colleagues in Tallaght to write a new song, which was shared as part of one of the HSE Staff Choir Concerts. Alison also took part in David Brophy’s Frontline Choir during COVID and describes what it was like to connect with a new group of HSE colleagues to practice and perform for the television series. It all makes for an uplifting podcast, please leave us a review on your chosen podcast channel. 

#08 Social prescribing - Listen to this episode as we learn about Social Prescribing and how this initiative can improve the wellbeing of a wide range of individuals, including those who are socially isolated, lonely, and experiencing long-term conditions and mental health difficulties. This week, we speak to Caragh Munn, Social Prescribing co-ordinator with Bray Area Partnership, who explains how Social Prescribing focuses on ‘What Matters to the Person’ rather than ‘What is the Matter with the Person.’ She describes how the aim of Social Prescribing is to connect adults to community groups, organisations and statutory services for practical and emotional support with the help of a Social Prescribing Link Worker. We learn how referrals to the Social Prescribing Link Worker come from various sources, including GPs, nurses, community mental health teams, health and social care professionals, older people services, the community and voluntary sector, as well as self-referrals. Details on how to make a referral or how to self-refer to a service, and where to find your nearest Social Prescribing Service can be found at: https://allirelandsocialprescribing.ie/services-map/  

#09 Making the ‘Big Talk’ many small talks - Listen to the latest episode of the HSE Talking Health and Wellbeing Podcast, featuring Moira Germaine, Education and Training Manager with the Sexual Health and Crisis Pregnancy Programme. Moira tells us about the Making the ‘Big Talk’ many small talks resources, which support conversations between parents and their children about relationships and sexuality. Find out all about the research and rationale behind the new resources, now available on sexualhealth.ie, as Moira shares her insights from working with a wide range of stakeholders on sexual health to empower parents and carers to support healthy relationships for their children. We hope you enjoy this engaging and informative podcast, hosted by Fergal Fox. Please leave us a review on your chosen podcast channel.

#10 Mental health - Listen to the latest episode of the HSE Talking Health and Wellbeing Podcast, hosted by Noreen Turley with Mark Smyth, HSE Senior Clinical Psychologist, who discuss some of the signs of mental health problems and the new HSE Mental Health Literacy Campaign. The episode focusses on stress, anxiety, low mood and sleep as common signs of mental health problems and what we can do to help ourselves and others. HSE resources and support information are available on yourmentalhealth.ie

#11 Health Promotion and Improvement - In this episode listen to Karen Heavey and Joan Ita Murphy, two Health Promotion and Improvement Managers in the HSE, as they describe the work of their departments in HSE Health and Wellbeing. Their staff work with a wide variety of partners internally and externally as they target issues from smoking cessation, promoting mental wellbeing and delivery of staff health and wellbeing. Karen and Joan Ita also talk about the social determinants of health, their work on Sláintecare Healthy Communities and how they see their increased staffing numbers working to address the health needs of their areas in the coming years. Hosted by Fergal Fox.

#12 Making Every Contact Count (MECC) - In this episode we talk about Making Every Contact Count (MECC), a national behaviour change programme, which prepares healthcare professionals to use the different contacts they have with their patients as an opportunity to talk with them about making healthier lifestyle changes, in order to prevent chronic disease. Mo Foley, Making Every Contact Count Mobiliser and Louise Crowley, Physiotherapy Manager in HSE Mid-West Community Healthcare tell host Eamon Keogh all about their experience implementing Making Every Contact Count. They share their insights from supporting the implementation of MECC, discussing the training programme, why staff should take it on, and why MECC is of benefit to the public. For more information visit: www.makingeverycontactcount.ie

#13 SpunOut.ie - In this episode we talk to Ian Power, CEO of SpunOut.ie, the youth information website. The discussion covers a broad range of issues that young people are seeking information on through the website. Ian describes how the organisation has developed and learned by working with young people to give insights and offer support with trusted information where and when young people need it. SpunOut also launched the Free Text 50808 service in 2020 and Ian shares some insights into the way that service was set up and how it supports young people through challenging times. SpunOut have been a partner of the HSE in the context of youth mental health and youth health information for many years. Hosted by Fergal Fox.

#14 Traveller Wellbeing Through Creativity - In this episode we hear from Martin Beanz Warde who tells us about his ‘Through Our Eyes’ photography project which was funded under the Traveller Through Creativity initiative in 2022. Martin is a Comedian, Writer and Photographer who also shares his own personal story about expressing his creative ability in a variety of ways and how he has supported others through his growing media presence.

#15 Men’s Health Week – Why it matters - In episode 15 of the HSE Talking Health & Wellbeing Podcast, we talk about Men’s Health Week with Anne Farrell,  CIE Occupational Health Unit and Finian Murray in HSE Health and Wellbeing. Finian explains the background to Men’s Health Week and the range of activities happening during Men’s Health Week 2023 and the many partners involved. Anne talks to us about the range of health & wellbeing supports in CIE for their pre-dominantly male staff. Hosted by Eamon Keogh. To find out more about #MensHealthWeek check out www.mhfi.org.

#16 Choose Screening - In this episode, host Fergal Fox talks to Fiona Murphy, Chief Executive of the HSE National Screening Service (NSS) and Grace Rattigan, one of their Patient and Public Partnership representatives about the importance of the four national screening programmes to help prevent or recognise disease early when it is easier to treat. Screening saves lives and the NSS recently launched their new strategy ‘Choose Screening’, putting engagement with people to the forefront of how they do their work. Fiona talks about the significance of this person-centred approach, the journey of the development of the strategy and how the NSS aims to ensure that screening is an informed-choice for people. Grace shares her experience of becoming an ambassador for screening promotion, and speaks about how worthwhile and empowering it has been as a member of the NSS Patient and Public Partnership to help shape the development of the service. For more on the HSE National Screening Service go to: www.screeningservice.ie

#17 Healthy Workplaces - In this episode we talk Healthy Workplaces with Biddy O’Neill from Healthy Ireland in the Department of Health. The discussion covers the background to the Healthy Workplace Framework – Healthy Ireland at Work, and why and how the recently launched Healthy Workplace Website will guide workplaces on the best things they can do to develop and improve the wellbeing of their staff. Biddy shares her insights into the potential of Healthy Workplaces, what the evidence tells us and what they hope to achieve with the new website as a one stop shop for workplaces, with lots of resources to signpost and support. Hosted by Fergal Fox. Check out the new Healthy Ireland at Work website at: www.healthyworkplace.ie

#18 HSE Safer Nightlife Programme - In this episode we talk to Nicki Killeen, Project Manager working on HSE Emerging Drugs Trends, we hear all about the HSE Safer Nightlife Programme which was set up to reduce the harm of drugs used in “nightlife” settings and at music festivals in particular. Nicki shares her insights on the pilot work done at the Electric Picnic Music Festival last year and the work underway at this year’s summer music festivals to support people around their risk taking behaviours and to gather samples of drugs for checking. This ‘back of house’ approach allows for drugs to be gathered and analysed through “surrender bins” and supports the team to identify substances of concern, provide real time information in relation to drugs circulating and engage with festival goers to reduce drug-related harms. Nicki explains how the teams of drugs.ie volunteers work at the festivals to build up trust and engage with those attending to complete brief interventions. For more information go to www.drugs.ie.

#19 HSE Active Workplaces - In this episode we talk to Eimear Cotter, Project Manager, Healthy Eating Active Living Programme, HSE Health & Wellbeing and Dan Russell, Health Promotion & Improvement Officer, HSE, Dublin South, Kildare & West Wicklow Community Healthcare, about active workplaces and the importance of physical activity. Eimear discusses the physical activity guidelines, the risks associated with sedentary behaviour in the workplace and why movement breaks are so important to incorporate as part of our daily routine. Dan shares his experiences about the HSE Steps to Health challenge, which is an internal initiative aimed at encouraging and supporting staff to be more active. Hosted by Eamon Keogh.

#20 Parents Matter - In this episode, we speak to Professor Bobby Smyth, Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, on the role of parents in the area of substance prevention and education, as part of an ongoing campaign ‘Parents Matter’ to promote information about substances and how to engage children and young people on this matter. Families have the potential to act as a major protective force in the lives of children and adolescents. Mutually supportive family relationships generally influence the prevention of substance use among young people.

#21 Positive Mental Health - In this episode we talk to HSE Health Promotion and Improvement Officers, Olive Fanning and Anne Marie Murphy, about Positive Mental Health and the HSE’s Minding Your Wellbeing programme which is available through a series of 5 videos along with other mental health supports on www.yourmentalhealth.ie. Hosted by Fergal Fox, they discuss the programme and many of the terms and concepts used in the field of Positive Psychology such as Self-Care, Resilience, Positive Relationships, Mindfulness and how we need to Manage Our Thoughts. Both Anne Marie and Olive have significant experience of delivering this evidenced based programme face to face to HSE staff and they offer their insights, giving listeners lots to reflect on in terms of how they mind their own mental wellbeing. The Minding Your Wellbeing Programme Support Booklet is also highlighted in the podcast as a useful practical tool for people who are working to improve their mental wellbeing and is available via www.healthpromotion.ie.

#22 Alcohol & Pregnancy - In this podcast two experts discuss Alcohol and Pregnancy. Dr Mary O’Mahony, Consultant in Public Health Medicine and Professor Maeve Eogan, Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist talk to podcast host Noreen Turley about a range of issues involved including Foetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD). FASD Awareness Day is the 9th of September 2023. They discuss the difficulties that some women face giving up alcohol while pregnant and the importance of providing consistent messaging to women. The clear message is that No amount of alcohol at any stage of pregnancy is safe for your baby and if you have had a drink stopping as soon as the pregnancy is confirmed is the best thing for your developing baby. Maeve says that “We want to support women who find having an alcohol free pregnancy difficult without the‘blame and shame culture’ this can prevent women asking for help. Health care professionals need to have clear communication and have those challenging conservations with women so that we can provide support to women.” Mary explains that “The reality is that anytime alcohol is consumed during pregnancy, it passes from your blood stream through the placenta to your baby. Even a small amount of alcohol can harm a baby’s development and may have lifelong effects. But stopping drinking alcohol at any stage of pregnancy is of benefit to the baby.” Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can cause foetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD). FASD experience lifelong challenges and need support with their physical health. They may struggle with learning, memory, attention, communication, emotional regulation, and social skills. FASD Awareness Day is the 9th of September 2023. For further information and tips for not drinking during pregnancy contact the Drug and Alcohol Helpline on 1800 459 459 or visit  https://www2.hse.ie/pregnancy-birth/keeping-well/food-drink/alcohol/ and https://www2.hse.ie/my-child/

#24 Healthy Campus - A Healthy Campus ‘adopts a holistic understanding of health, takes a whole campus approach and aspires to create a learning environment and organisational culture that enhances the health and wellbeing of its community and enables people to achieve their full potential’. It’s about moving away from a focus only on individuals to ensure we are creating campuses that are conducive and supportive to health and wellbeing, a whole campus approach. This includes how health can be supported through teaching and learning, leadership, governance and strategy, student services, the physical environment, and campus culture. It aims to foster an ethos of care, compassion, and inclusion on campuses. The Healthy Campus Process, contained in the Framework, outlines an inclusive, coordinated approach to improving health and wellbeing. To find out more about the work underway in this area see the HEA’s Healthy Campus webpage.

#25 Reducing your risk of cancer - In Ireland, 1 in 2 people will develop cancer at some stage of their life. Cancer prevention and early diagnosis are key to reducing the burden of cancer in Ireland. Listen to Consultant in public health Dr Triona McCarthy at the HSE’s National Cancer Control Programme (NCCP) discuss steps you can take to reduce your risk of cancer and the healthy lifestyle choices you can make to help. Triona also explains that not all cancers can be prevented; each individual’s risk of getting cancer is influenced by a wide range of factors. But she adds that there are steps we can take to reduce the risk of many cancers. Making healthy lifestyle choices not only reduces the risk of cancer, but also helps improve general health. Dr McCarthy works with the HSE’s National Cancer Control Programme, which established and coordinates the Irish Cancer Prevention Network (ICPN). ICPN member organisations work together to support and collaborate on cancer risk reduction initiatives. Together, they provide a trusted source of information for the public by converting the knowledge gained through research, surveillance and outcome evaluation into strategies and actions for the prevention of cancer in Ireland. There are now more than 200,000 people living with and beyond cancer in Ireland. The number of survivors is predicted to double over the next 25 years, mainly due to improvements in early detection, effective cancer treatment and new developments in treatment. Further Information www.hse.ie/cancerprevention

#34 Understanding HIV in 2023 - In this episode of the HSE Talking Health and Wellbeing podcast, host Eamon Keogh discusses HIV with Professor Fiona Lyons, HSE Clinical Lead of the Sexual Health and Crisis Pregnancy Program and Consultant in Genitourinary Medicine at Saint James’ Hospital Dublin, and Aoife Commins, a practicing nurse who is living with HIV. They cover the progress made in HIV treatment, the importance of early intervention, and the challenges of stigma and discrimination. Fiona highlights the decrease in first-time HIV diagnoses as she explains the need for normalising HIV testing. Aoife shares her personal experience living with HIV, including her initial misdiagnosis and the stigma she has faced. Fiona discusses the highly effective treatments and how science has progressed. We also hear about the importance of creating a safe space for individuals to disclose their status. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to reach out to us at healthandwellbeing.communications@hse.ie

Item Type
Publication Type
Irish-related, Audio / Visual
Drug Type
All substances, Tobacco / Nicotine
Intervention Type
General / Comprehensive, Harm reduction
December 2023
Health Service Executive
Corporate Creators
Health Service Executive
Place of Publication
Related (external) link
B Substances > Alcohol
B Substances > Tobacco (cigarette smoking)
E Concepts in biomedical areas > Pregnancy
G Health and disease > State of health
G Health and disease > Public health
G Health and disease > Pathologic process > Cancer
G Health and disease > Disease by cause (Aetiology) > Communicable / infectious disease > HIV
J Health care, prevention, harm reduction and rehabilitation > Identification and screening > Identification and screening for substance use
J Health care, prevention, harm reduction and rehabilitation > Identification and screening > Identification and screening for substance use > Drug checking / testing service
J Health care, prevention, harm reduction and rehabilitation > Health related issues > Health information and education > Health promotion
J Health care, prevention, harm reduction and rehabilitation > Health care delivery
L Social psychology and related concepts > Interpersonal interaction and group dynamics > Peer relations / social networks
L Social psychology and related concepts > Interpersonal interaction and group dynamics > Social support
L Social psychology and related concepts > Family > Family and kinship > Family relations > Family role > Role of parent / guardian
L Social psychology and related concepts > Social context
L Social psychology and related concepts > Social context > Social, cultural or entertainment event
MP-MR Policy, planning, economics, work and social services > Labour and work > Workplace / work-related substance issue
T Demographic characteristics > Pregnant woman
T Demographic characteristics > Man (men / male)
T Demographic characteristics > Undergraduate or graduate student
T Demographic characteristics > Parent / guardian
VA Geographic area > Europe > Ireland

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