October World Mental Health Month 

World Mental Health Month takes place this October, and October 10th marks World Mental Health Day. Starting 30 years ago, World Mental Health Day provides the opportunity to raise awareness about mental health issues and creates a platform for action.

This year’s theme is ‘Mental Health & Wellbeing For All A Global Priority’, which provides the opportunity to reconnect, invest, promote and improve mental health across our communities. We can all play a role in increasing mental health awareness, having open conversations about mental health, and reducing stigma. This campaign provides the ultimate opportunity for us all to build mental health awareness, united as one.

Research* shows that Irish women have a lower wellbeing score than men, especially women who are full-time homemakers or carers. The most recent Health at a Glance: Europe report published in November 2020, developed by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in cooperation with the EU Commission, reported that Ireland has one of the highest rates (3/36 countries) of mental health illness in Europe with 18.5% of the Irish population recorded as having a mental health illness such as anxiety, bipolar disorder, depression, or alcohol/drug use. 

How can we improve our mental health

The New Economics Foundation developed a set of evidence-based actions in 2008 – ‘Five Ways to Wellbeing. The project examined research from across the world on proven actions that can help us feel good and function well. The Five Ways to Wellbeing are simple actions to practice each day to maintain or improve mental health and wellbeing.

Minor wellbeing improvements can increase our ability to lead a more fulfilling life.

Each action in the Five Ways to Wellbeing can make a positive difference, and they are free and easy to incorporate into everyday life.

Five Ways to Wellbeing – Connect / Be Active / Take Notice / Keep Learning / Give 

‘Wellness For All’ – SI Ireland – National Project 2022/23

“Each year as Soroptimists in Ireland we undertake a variety of national project work underpinned by our Mission and the United Nationals Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s). I’m delighted to announce that the 2022/23 project is ‘Wellness For All’. As an organisation, we are committed to improving the lives of women and over the coming months we will be establishing various initiatives based around the  Five Ways to Wellbeing to help women make small improvements to their wellbeing and in turn, lead more fulfilling lives” – Eadaoin Lawlor

What is Wellbeing?

Wellbeing is feeling good about yourself and the world around you and functioning well in everyday life, most of the time. Being resilient and coping with the daily stresses of life is also an essential attribute of wellbeing. Many things can influence your wellbeing. These include exercise, diet, sense of belonging, relationships, career, self-care, spirituality, money, where we live, and a sense of purpose.

Wellbeing is much broader than simply how happy you are. It also includes how satisfied you are with your life, your sense of purpose, and how in control you feel. 

Connect – It’s ideal for making time each day to connect. Connect with the people around you,  family, friends, colleagues and neighbours. At home, work, school or in your local community. By staying connected and nurturing these relationships, we feel happier and more secure, giving us a better sense of purpose.

Be Active – Look for ways to be active every day. Go for a walk or a run. Step outside. Cycle, play a game, garden or dance. Discover a physical activity you enjoy which suits your lifestyle and level of mobility and fitness. Research has shown being physically active can improve your mental health and wellbeing.

Take Notice – Be aware of the world around you and your feelings. Be Curious. Catch sight of the beautiful. Notice the changing seasons. Savour the moment whether you walk to work, eat lunch or talk to friends. Pay attention to the present moment – your thoughts, feelings and the world around you.

Keep Learning – Try something new. Rediscover an old interest. Sign up for that course. Cook a new recipe. Take on a new responsibility. Setting yourself a new challenge and learning a new skill will increase your confidence, improving your mental health and wellbeing.

Give – Giving to others is good for you. Do something nice for someone else. Thank someone. Volunteer your time or join a community group. Seeing yourself and your happiness linked to the broader community can be incredibly rewarding and create connectedness with the people around you.

If you, a friend or a family member need to talk to someone, Mental Health Ireland www.mentalhealthireland.iehave a list of organisations that can be contacted for confidential, non-judgemental support.

Most helplines can provide a listening service, give information and advice, provide emotional support or point you in the direction of other services. They are often free-phone services with trained staff.

If you or someone you know is at risk of suicide or self-harm, you should make contact immediately with your GP / Go to the Accident & Emergency department of the nearest hospital or Call 999. 

Mental Health Ireland – www.mentalhealthireland.ie

Mental Health Ireland Wellness Video – www.youtube.com/watch?v=bsc2QkCC3uI