Praxis Care marked the 25th anniversary of World Mental Health Day on 10th October by holding an information stand at Tesco in Magherafelt.
Approximately 1 in 4 persons will experience a mental health problem each year -worries about money, jobs, health, benefits etc can make it hard for people to cope with everyday living.
It can’t escape our attention, the amazing growth of interest in health and fitness. Personal trainers, healthy eating, smoking bans etc help to educate us to the health message - that it matters how you treat your body.
But it seems Mental Health has been pushed into the background, one of the last taboo subjects to speak openly about. Times have changed, for society and individuals, as we communicate more than ever before. But we may, still, miss out on the real message.
On World Mental Health Day, the main message, is to take time to consider your mental health and the steps you can take to improve your own world.
Or maybe, the world around us, including family and friends. The focus of World Mental Health Day is “mental health in the workplace”. Are employers and managers tuned into the mental health of those in the workplace, or know how to respond helpfully should an employee need support?
We are all encouraged, regardless of employment status, to be aware of simple steps we can adopt, to reduce the stresses and challenges of life, and build some resilience for the hard times that life can throw at us. This may mean understanding the person who is not coping so well, or being brave enough to start that conversation which may give them the courage to say how they really feel.
Take 5 is a guide from the Public Health Agency, suggesting five simple steps to build into your daily routine, to improve your wellbeing. Connect -with people around you. Be Active -exercising can make you feel good. Take notice - slow down and take in what is around you. Keep learning - try something new, take on a challenge. Give -do something for someone else.
Princes Harry and Will, as well as actors/actresses and sports stars e.g Cara Delevingne, John Hamm, Kesha, Zayn Malik, Dame Kelly Holmes, Alan O’Mara, Marian Keys, Brent Pope etc sharing their personal struggles with mental ill health is helping erode the stigma, but we have a bit further to go, so the person recovering from mental ill health such as depression, anxiety, schizophrenia etc, will get the same empathy and encouragement as any other illness.
What else would help? Learn how to recognise the signs and know where to find help for mental health issues. Local Health Centres are the recognised channel for good information on the subject of mental health, as well as signposting towards more specific services, available within the community. In addition, there are excellent help lines that provide personal, supportive advice, in a crisis e.g Lifeline – 0808 808 8000 or the Samaritans – Freephone 116 123.
Praxis Care provides a range of support to individuals who need help through mental health problems. Their mission is “empowering adults and children with mental ill health, learning disability or acquired brain injury to enjoy everyday living, irrespective of the complexity of their needs.”
If you feel you could help someone who has become socially isolated due to their mental ill health and would like to become a befriending volunteer with Praxis Care, please contact Jo MacOscar on 02879634488, email firstname.lastname@example.org.