Public attitude towards Mental Health has been changing in recent years, and as a society we seem to be on the right path towards helping people. However, suicide remains one of the great challenges facing the world as a whole, and given the exceptional circumstances we have all found ourselves shared in this year, it’s fitting that this years theme is ‘Working Together to Prevent Suicide.’

Mental Health Awareness

It’s fair to say that mental health issues are part of the public discussion now more than ever. What was once swept under the rug and not treated as seriously as physical health, is now talked about openly; and as celebrities and public figures continue to come forward to discuss mental health issues, other parts of society are being encouraged to do the same, so that everyone can gain a better understanding of what depression is and how it can be prevented or treated.

Consistently advised practices include eating well and drinking sensibly; keeping in touch with friends and caring for people; accepting who you are and doing things you’re good at. Of course mental health is never this straightforward. These are all things we can do to try and look after ourselves, but just as important is looking after each other, especially if we’re lucky enough to be free of Mental Health issues. More help than ever is on offer with regards to Mental Health, but there’s still more that can be done.

Working Together to Promote Mental Wellbeing in Northern Ireland

This year, South West College are supporting the Health and Social Care Trust’s regional campaign, promoting “Working Together to Promote Mental Wellbeing in Northern Ireland”. The campaign is being launched by the Public Health Agency (PHA) along with five Health and Social Care Trusts, the NI Ambulance Service and the Health and Social Care Board, who with the community and voluntary sectors will work together to promote ways to support our mental wellbeing, with co-ordinated messages and links to support on social media including to the updated resources website.

Over the next five weeks the campaign will focus on the ‘Take 5 Steps to Wellbeing’, which offers practical ideas to help support people with protecting and improving their own mental wellbeing and those around them. The Take 5 Steps to Wellbeing are evidence based, easy to follow steps to help maintain and improve your wellbeing. The steps are-Connect, Be Active, Take Notice, Keep Learning and Give.

Olive MacLeod, Chief Executive, PHA, said: “The PHA has been working closely with the five Health and Social Care Trusts and NI Ambulance Service and the Health and Social Care Board on this campaign. In the current climate it is even more important we work together with a united voice with our local communities to encourage everyone to look after their own mental and emotional wellbeing and that of others. We want to promote each of the Take 5 messages and the range of resources and support available. We should think of these as our ‘five-a-day’ for wellbeing and build these into our daily lives. “This week also sees World Suicide Prevention Day on 10 September. It is vitally important to remind people that if they or someone they know is experiencing a crisis, that the 24/7crisis helpline Lifeline (0808 808 8000) is available at all times.

“We hope that encouraging people to Take 5 Steps to Wellbeing will help prevent people reaching crisis point. We encourage people to recognise the signs in themselves and others and know where they can get help as early as possible.”

You can keep an eye out for information on this campaign across Social Media at #MentalWellbeingNI2020