Minister of State for Mental Health Helen McEntee is appealing to anyone who is feeling down, and it’s interfering with their day-to-day life, to reach out and get help. Minister McEntee made the appeal today (Friday) on World Health Day and was speaking as she visited a Men’s Shed in Moynalty, County Meath. World Health Day is celebrated on the 7th of April every year to mark the anniversary of the founding of the World Health Organization. The theme this year is depression, with a focus on tackling stigma and highlighting the importance of talking about depression.
Depression is the leading cause of ill health and disability worldwide. The World Health Organization estimates that the number of people living with depression increased by over 18% between 2005 and 2015.
Minister McEntee said “The first step to receiving help is to reach out and talk to someone, be that a friend, work colleague, family member or through services such as the Samaritan helpline. There has been great progress in reducing the stigma of mental health issues, but we know that there is still work to be done. It is only through communicating and sharing our experiences that we can learn how best to address and recognise the issues that face us all. Depression can impact in a variety of ways, and at worst it can lead to suicide. However, we also know that there are things we can do to help and to prevent depression.”
The Minister went on to say that “Some of these things we can do to help are highlighted in #Littlethings, our national mental health and wellbeing campaign. The campaign focuses on sharing evidence-based, simple and powerful day-to-day steps – little things that we can all do to protect our own mental health, and support the people we care about. Small steps like talking about your problems, eating and sleeping well, taking regular exercise, drinking less alcohol and staying in touch and spending time with others are all proven to improve mental health.
The Minister also pointed out our national strategy to reduce suicide and self-harm, “‘Connecting for Life’, was launched in 2015 and also sets out a range of implementable actions that seek to address such issues and support positive mental health. The strategy sets out clear, defined goals to help us achieve this aim, such as providing supports to communities to prevent and respond to suicidal behaviour, and increasing our understanding of suicidal behaviour.”
Minister McEntee encouraged everyone who is feeling down and it is interfering with their ability to get on with your day-to-day life, to seek support from a GP, a counsellor or a support organisation such as the Samaritans. The Samaritans 24-hour phoneline is 116 123. Alternatively you can email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit http://www.samaritans.ie for details of the nearest branch