Learn about the little things which can boost your mental health

The communications officer of a Galway based national youth website will share his mental health experience in a series of films and advertisements aimed at helping others going through difficult times.

Alan O’Mara, a journalist who works with SpunOut, previously spoke about how he coped with depression which followed an u21 All Ireland Final appearance with the Cavan football team in 2011. Since then he has continued to speak publicly about depression and the importance of positive mental health.

Mr O’Mara is one of three people who will feature in a new campaign being run by the HSE’s National Office for Suicide Prevention (NOSP ) in association with more than 25 partner organisations.

They will talk about difficult times, how they felt, and what little things helped them through it. The advertisements are supported by a range of print and online illustrations of the #littlethings that are proven to protect and recover good mental health and wellbeing.

Entitled #littlethings, the mental health and wellbeing drive highlights the fact that we all experience difficult times in our lives. It outlines there are some simple, evidence-based “little things” that can make a big difference to how we feel. These include, keeping active, talking about problems, connecting with others going through difficult times, drinking less alcohol, eating and sleeping well.

There are also supports and services available should people wish to avail of these. A new online information resource, yourmentalhealth.ie, has been developed with the support of NOSP and funded partner organisations. This is the most comprehensive online directory of support services and information on mental health in Ireland. In addition, there is now a single emotional support freephone number, available at all times, from the Samaritans at 116 123.

Here are the #littlethings that can make a big difference to people’s mental health and wellbeing:

Keeping Active. Be active every day, something as simple as a walk, is proven to have a positive impact on your mood.

Talk about your problems. They will feel smaller when they are shared with others, without having to be solved or fixed. Just talking about it will do you good.

Look out for others. Lend an ear to someone else in trouble or catching up with someone who seems distant can change their day, or their lives. You don’t have to fix it for them - just listening is a huge help.

Do things with others. Taking part in a group activity that you enjoy is proven to have a positive impact on how you feel, be it a game of football, joining a choir, or volunteering.

Eat healthily. A regular healthy, balanced and nutritious diet will help both your physical but also your mental health and have a positive impact on how you feel.

Stay in touch. Catching up with friends and family is good for our mental health, reminding us that we’re part of a community, and has a positive impact on how we feel.

Drink less alcohol. Reducing alcohol will have a positive impact on tthe average Irish drinker’s health and mental wellbeing, making it easier to cope with day to day difficulties and stresses.

Sleep well. Getting a good night’s sleep of seven or eight hours, as often as you can, will have a positive impact on how you feel. Protect your sleep if you can, it will do you good.

To see the #littlethings that work for others, and to share the little things that work for you see the @littlethingshub on Twitter and Facebook at www.facebook.com/littlethingshub To watch the #littlethings films visit www.yourmentalhealth.ie where you will also find a comprehensive national support service listing and lots of wellbeing and support tools and information.

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