Mullingar could become “a community of resilience” if businesses, individuals, voluntary, and other organisations work together to support positive mental health.
That’s the message of Sarah McCormack, president of Soroptimists Mullingar at the launch of a new website to promote positive mental health. Aisling.ie is the brainchild of Mullingar Mental Health Association and Soroptimists. The website aims to help people build resilience by using 10 top tips for positive mental health.
The tips, which include eating well, getting fresh air, talking about feelings, getting a good night’s sleep, and having fun, also form part of a short video which Ms McCormack is asking local businesses to show on the video screens in their premises.
The other tips include not judging yourself too harshly, asking for help when you need it, staying in touch with family and friends, keeping active, and daring to dream.
Guest speaker ironman Gerry Duffy spoke at the launch explaining that when he started to become physically fit, he became mentally more fit. Working on the first nine tips made it possible for him, after losing four stone and giving up cigarettes, to consider the last tip - to dare to dream.
Speaking at the launch Ms McCormack said that it is important to “get the information out there and remove the stigma attached to mental health”. She compared the reluctance to discuss feeling down, lacking confidence, or being worried to the reluctance in the past to talk about cancer.
“It’s important that we take on the challenge to make life better for those who are finding life difficult,” she said.
The 10 top tips will be available on postcards in shops in Mullingar, along with stickers for doors and windows with details of all the support agencies providing services locally.
“It’s not going to cost us anything, but we can build a community of resilience,” she said, adding that “it’s in the talking we get support”.
Everyone in the community can get involved by sending postcards, putting up a sticker somewhere prominent, or by showing the video. The Soroptimists and Mullingar Mental Health Association will help in any way, she said, pointing out that the feedback from people in crisis is that they didn’t know where to look for help. “That can change if people support the initiative and use the tips.
“Individually we count, together we make a difference,” she concluded.
The meeting also provided an opportunity for all the support groups working in Mullingar to introduce themselves and their work and explain how their services are accessed.
Finola Colgan Carey, Mental Health Ireland’s development officer for the region, described the initiative as very positive and urged people to take the simple steps that can improve daily life and help stave off more serious conditions.
For more information log on to www.Aisling.ie