To highlight Mental Health Awareness Week (11-17 May), the Public Health Agency (PHA) would like to remind people to look after their mental health and give it the same level of attention as their physical health.
The PHA is urging people to look at ways of improving their mental health and wellbeing. One way of doing this is by adopting the Five Ways to Wellbeing which were developed by the New Economics Foundation (NEF).
Madeline Heaney, Regional Lead for Mental and Emotional Wellbeing at the PHA, said: “By adopting simple steps and introducing them into everyday life you can improve your mental health. This could include things such as engaging more with your friends or family, learning a new skill or becoming more active. These can all lead to improving your self-esteem. The PHA is using Mental Health Awareness Week to encourage people to take action to improve their mental health and wellbeing.”
The Five Ways to Wellbeing, sometimes also known as Take 5, are:
• Connect – engage with the people around you – family, friends, colleagues and neighbours, at home, work, school, or in your local community. Think of these as the cornerstones of your life and invest time in developing them.
• Be active – exercising can make you feel good.
• Take notice – be aware of the world around you and what you are feeling. Reflecting on your experiences will help you appreciate what matters to you.
• Keep learning – try something new or rediscover an old interest. Learning new things will make you more confident as well as being fun.
• Give – do something nice for a friend or a stranger. Seeing yourself, and your happiness, linked to the wider community can be incredibly rewarding and creates connections with the people around you.
More information on looking after your mental health, the Five Ways to Wellbeing and the support which is available across Northern Ireland can be found at www.mindingyourhead.info
You can also talk to 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