Table of contents
Disclaimer : Rural Ireland Tech Advocates is a diverse group of individuals brought together by the love of their respective counties. It’s important to seek the right help and we’ll be updating the county pages with links to local mental health services. This guide is a work in progress and will be updated throughout the year.
Who is this guide for?
This guide is for everyone. We all need to protect our physical and mental health while looking out for each other. Many of us will suffer from a mental health issue at some stage in our lives. This guide has been created from a place of kindness and caring by the Rural Ireland Tech Advocates based on their own lived experiences. If you have one takeaway from this guide please let it be that you are not alone and that there are people that want to help.
Mental Health Ireland is a great resource with links to support services across each region., links to recent studies and self help guides to mindfulness, meditation and well-being.
HSE Mental Health Services : The HSE provides a wide range of community and hospital based mental health services in Ireland, and these services have seen dramatic changes and developments over the past twenty years. These changes continue, as we move from the hospital model to providing more care in communities and in clients’ own homes.
NI Direct Mental Health Services (Northern Ireland) : Provides a useful list of government supports, links to self-care recommendations and more.
Employee Assistance Programs (EAP’s)
It can be hard to get the right level of help in a timely manner these days. One of the ways employers can help is through EAP’s. They are a free service for employees that can give you access to varying professional advice, including counseling, which is entirely confidential. Check with your employer if they have an EAP program and if they don’t be an advocate to get one in place. References: https://www.uk.mercer.com/our-thinking/mental-wellbeing-resources/seven-reasons-to-use-your-employee-assistance-programme.html https://www.spectrum.life/eap/ Health Assured EAPs
Private Medical Providers
Not everyone has access to private medical cover, however if your employer provides you with this benefit many of the providers cover mental health services. Companies like Bupa and Vitality provide access to GP’s from their apps and some even provide self referral options in these apps for talking therapies. References: https://www.vitality.co.uk/health-insurance/mental-health-support/ https://bupa.co.uk/health/health-insurance/mental-health
Sleep is important for physical and mental health, quality is rated more important than quantity so sleep quality trackers should not be ignored. Dermot discovered he had sleep issues with one and was pleasantly surprised at how much difference it made when I addressed the issue, i.e. stopped looking at his phone when in bed etc.
We all now know the impact of (or lack of) social interaction, one of the issues at the moment is it takes way more effort, so the advice is to put in the effort, go and put yourself in a social situation (obviously in a covid safe way). Co-working spaces are great for this type of interaction.
Any kind of physical activity is great, it doesn’t have to involve a personal trainer or heavy weights. Walk the dog, have walking meetings, walk for 15-30 minutes before you start work to fake the morning commute.
Try faking the one thing none of us are missing, the morning and evening commute. The commute is actually a great decompression chamber and delineation between work and home life. Again take a walk, drive round the block anything, change it up each time, but do it! It’s one of Dermot’s top tips, though it’s the one he tends to drop first but the one which has a great positive impact.
Find a therapist
https://iacp.ie/ – a free resource to find a therapist in Ireland. https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/counselling/northern-ireland for Northern Ireland. Many companies now have actually free or subsidised access to therapists, don’t be afraid to ask for details!
Don’t miss your dose
If you’re taking medication, don’t miss a dose as it really does have an impact on your mood.
Get up and move/do something
There will be days when you just don’t want to do anything or you just want to sleep all day so you don’t have to deal with things. Push yourself to get up and do something, go out for a walk, clean your house, make something, or pick up a new hobby. An idle mind is the devil’s workshop.
Some might say that laughter is the best medicine but it’s always worth getting a second opinion 🙂 When grieving the loss of a loved one, Tom found it comforting to watch old television shows and movies which his loved one enjoyed. Old episodes of Fawlty Towers, Only Fools and Horses etc helped him remember the laughter, the good times, the smiles and over time this helped alleviate some of the grief.
Having a little something in your life that sparks your joy and passion can make a big difference to your mood and boost endorphins. Whether that is being in the kitchen, going to a certain workout class, being artistic or being adventurous outdoors. Hobbies are a great escape for your mind and lets you discover something you love to do!
Write it down
You don’t have to start spilling all your thoughts and feelings onto paper – if you have the writing gene by all means go ahead – but taking a few minutes a day to get whatever your feeling out of your head can lift a weight off your mind. If you’re struggling Chloe recommends a guided journal that makes you write down a few good things a day. She thinks she’s become a more positive person since using the Five Minute Journal.
Aware.ie : The Aware Support Line service is a free service and is available to anyone, aged 18 years and over, who is seeking support and information about issues relating to their own mood or the mood of a friend or family member, or who experiences depression, anxiety or bipolar disorder.
Aware Northern Ireland : A Derry-born charity, we now have two offices; one in Derry/Londonderry and a second office in Belfast. AWARE has an established network of 23 support groups in rural and urban areas across the country, which are run by our trained volunteers.
MindWise (Northern Ireland) : Our vision is a world where people affected by mental health issues receive the support they need to lead a fulfilling life through recovery and discovery. We provide quality services, including housing, community support and day services, criminal justice services, working with young people leaving custody, early intervention support for families and children, as well as support for carers and families. MindWise also provide mental health training to employers to create mentally healthy workplaces across Northern Ireland.
Calm : A mindfulness app for both newcomers and meditation enthusiasts alike. It can help users find inner peace and navigate life’s stressors.
Headspace : A meditation app available for iOS and Android that may be great for beginners. With guided meditations, mindful workouts, and sleep techniques, there’s likely something on the app for everyone.
Ginger : Mental health support made just for you. Behavioural health coaching, therapy, psychiatry, and self-care resources, all from the privacy of a smartphone.
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