Wellbeing and health

The Situation

We are a group of Irish women in Camden trying to create powerful unity and a community away from home. In 2015 and 2016, we talked to hundreds of Irish women living in London and here are some truths we found:

  • Even with their nerves at them all the time, and finding it difficult to cope, many Irish women are putting on a brave face and just trying to get on with it;
  • Relatively few Irish women access support for common mental health disorders
    Irish women are significantly more likely to be diagnosed with a serious mental illness and be admitted to a mental health unit than other groups.

Let’s start the conversation…

But first, we’ve compiled below some key facts which had a big impact on us when we heard them. Our intention is to share them, start a conversation and ultimately raise understanding and awareness of mental wellbeing and health, encourage self-care as well as reduce stigma among cailíní.

Mental wellbeing

Mental wellbeing describes our mental state – how we are feeling and how well we can cope with day-to-day life. Our mental wellbeing is dynamic. It can change from moment to moment, day to day, month to month or year to year.

Mental and emotional health

We all have mental health, like we all have physical health. Both change throughout our lives. And, like our bodies, our minds can become unwell. Mental health problems might actually be more common than you think. One in four of us will be affected by mental illness in any year. The effects are as real as a broken arm, even though there isn’t a sling or plaster cast to show for it.

How are wellbeing and mental health problems connected?

If you experience low mental wellbeing over a long period of time, you are more likely to develop a mental health problem.

If you already have a mental health problem, you’re more likely to experience periods of low mental wellbeing than someone who hasn’t. But that doesn’t mean you won’t have periods of good wellbeing.

Below we look at steps you can take to manage your mental wellbeing, whether you have a mental health diagnosis or not, and what support is available if you need it.

Managing your mental wellbeing

Below are five things that, according to research, can really help to boost our mental wellbeing:

  1. Connect – connect with the people around you: your family, friends, colleagues and neighbours. Spend time developing these relationships;
  2. Be active – you don’t have to go to the gym. Take a walk, go cycling or play a game of football. Find an activity that you enjoy and make it a part of your life;
  3. Keep learning – learning new skills can give you a sense of achievement and a new confidence. So why not sign up for that cooking course, start learning to play a musical instrument, or figure out how to fix your bike?;
  4. Give to others – even the smallest act can count, whether it’s a smile, a thank you or a kind word. Larger acts, such as volunteering at your local community centre, can improve your mental wellbeing;
  5. Pay attention  – and be curious. Catch sight of the beautiful. Remark on the unusual. Be aware of the world around you and what you are feeling. Reflecting on your experiences will help you appreciate what matters to you.