World Mental Health Day is everyone’s business
“MENTAL health issues can affect anyone, regardless of age, sex or background” – that is the key message for this year’s World Mental Health Day from the Public Health Agency (PHA).
World Mental Health Day aims to raise public awareness about the wide range of mental health issues which people experience.
Michael Owen, Health & Social Well-being Improvement Manager, PHA, explained: “While there remains an element of taboo around discussing mental health, the fact is that around one in five people in Northern Ireland experiences mental ill health at some stage in their lives. This is an issue for all of society and one which we cannot shy away from addressing.
“While mental health problems aren’t something that people easily talk about, they are very common. Many of us know someone who has experienced mental ill health so we want people to know that they’re not alone. There are many people who experience mental ill health, it can take many forms, and it can be an issue at any age. The key is that people shouldn’t be afraid to seek help and be aware that it does get better. People recover.
“Mental health should not be seen as any different from physical health – both are something which can be affected by a range of factors, and both can be helped with the right support.”
The PHA has a key role in promoting mental health and wellbeing. Recent public information campaigns have focused on addressing the stigma associated with mental health, promoting recovery, highlighting the range of issues which can have a negative impact on mental health and encouraging people to seek help.
Highlighting how mental ill health can affect people of any age, this year the PHA has been working with NUS-USI, the student movement in Northern Ireland, to distribute its ‘Mind Your Head’ guide to college and university students ahead of World Mental Health Day.
Primarily designed for students leaving home for the first time, the booklet provides practical advice on the many aspects of student life that can impact on mental health and wellbeing, including money issues, home life, stress, body image, sex and relationships.
NUS-USI President Adrianne Peltz said: “Starting college or university is great fun, but it can also be quite daunting and overwhelming. Supporting World Mental Health Day is really important to NUS-USI and we want all new students to pick up their copy of this excellent guide and to learn about protecting their mental health.”
More than 36,000 free copies of this of this valuable guide are being distributed to first year students in Northern Ireland’s further and higher education colleges and universities.
Mental health problems are characterised by alterations in thinking, mood or behaviour. For those who are at risk from, or experiencing mental health difficulties, the right support can help recovery and enable them to regain a positive sense of health and wellbeing.
Michael Owen added: “It is important not only to think about your own mental health, but also to look out for behaviour that could indicate that someone you know is under pressure and needs help. More information on looking after your mental health and the support available across Northern Ireland can be found at www.mindingyourhead.info. You can also visit your GP for advice.
“If you or someone you know is in distress or despair, call Lifeline on 0808 808 8000. This is a confidential service, where trained counsellors will listen and help immediately on the phone and follow up with other support if necessary. The helpline is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You can also access the Lifeline website at www.lifelinehelpline.info.
“Mental wellbeing is something that we all need to be aware of. It is nothing to be embarrassed about, and is something which we should feel confident about addressing,” concluded Michael Owen.
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Weather for Dungannon
Thursday 23 May 2013
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Wind direction: North