10th Oct 2019
World Mental Health Day
If you’re feeling the love for this year’s World Mental Health Day, here’s how to get involved in a meaningful way
Today is World Mental Health Day, and everywhere you look on social media, friends, celebrities and businesses are voicing their support for speaking out and getting help for mental health issues.
It’s an amazing testament to how far we’ve come in terms of talking about your mind — but it also shows how much more we could be doing to help.
While raising awareness is great and talking about your own experiences on your Instagram could help someone seek help for themselves, there are a lot more concrete things that you could easily do to help.
We all know how damaging social media, in general, can be for our mental health, and while our hearts may be in the right place by posting a nice quote or a call to action to speak out, we risk our sentiments being drowned out by a lot of the toxic content elsewhere on the platform.
Instead of ticking the Instagram box, here’s how to make a real difference and get involved in World Mental Health Day.
Reach out to a friend who may be struggling
The easiest way to make a marked difference for your loved ones’ mental health, is simply reaching out and talking to them. If you have a friend or family member who has seemed a bit quiet or off lately, or who you know has been going through a tough time, don’t ignore it — take today as an opportunity to talk.
Begin by asking them how they’ve been doing, and let them know that you’re there to support them. The most important thing is to listen — they may not want to talk about anything right now, and that’s okay, but if they do, you’re doing an important job by being the one to hear it.
If they reveal that they are really struggling, or are having suicidal thoughts, take the steps to help them find professional help. Although it can be overwhelming, remember that you are there to support them and remain as non-judgemental as possible.
Go to an event marking World Mental Health Day
There are lots of events and gatherings going on across the country today to mark World Mental Health Day, and they’re a great opportunity to hear others’ stories, get information about mental illness and services, and to donate your time and money to a bigger cause. Check out IMAGE.ie’s guide to what’s on here.
Donate to a mental health cause
If you’ve got money to spare, even if it’s just from foregoing your morning coffee today, why not donate it to a cause that’s in need?
There are many mental health charities in Ireland that are in need of donations, and every little bit counts towards helping those in need of support. Here are just a few you could donate to:
- Pieta House — works for the prevention of suicide and self-harm. To donate €4, text PH4 to 50300
- Samaritans Ireland — a free phone line to offer support and someone to talk to for those struggling with their mental health. You can donate through their website.
- Aware — provides support for people affected by depression and bipolar disorder. You can donate through their website.
- Jigsaw — a youth mental health service. You can donate through their website.
- BeLongTo — a support service for LGBTQ+ youth in Ireland, including providing counselling and mental health services. You can donate through their website.
- BodyWhys — a support service for those affected by eating disorders. To donate €2, text BODY to 50300
Consider becoming a volunteer for a mental health service
If you want to really get involved in helping people directly, you could begin researching how to become a volunteer for a mental health service. Many of the charities listed above are always looking for volunteers, whether that’s in fundraising, marketing, helping with event organisation, or dealing with visitors to the charity directly. Every volunteer’s role is vital to the charities’ ability to help as many people as possible.
Services that provide helplines like Samaritans or BodyWhys recruit volunteers to man the phones both day and night, and provide full training on how to best support someone struggling with mental illness. You can find out more by heading to their websites.
To best support someone struggling with their mental health, it’s important that we get the best and most up-to-date information about how to talk about it. Take today as a chance to get educated about mental health and the different signs of mental illness — it could make a huge difference.
All of the charities above have invaluable information listed on their websites, and services like SpunOut.ie, which is a youth-led mental health blog, and the HSE’s YourMentalHealth.ie are a great resource of information on everything to do with mental health.
Read more: Watch: Prince Harry and Ed Sheeran team up for World Mental Health Day
Read more: ‘I became a shadow of my former self. I stopped eating. I couldn’t go to work’
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