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Tag Archives: mental health

Coolmeen’s Aaron Finds It’s Good To Talk

EVEN in the 21st century, coming out in rural Ireland takes courage, and that’s something that Coolmeen-Cranny native Aaron Kelly has in spades. The 28-year old admits that it wasn’t always the case and that his struggle to accept his sexuality pushed him to the brink in terms of his mental health. It’s been a long road for the West Clare man who is urging others to be true to themselves and to seek support in overcoming mental health challenges and embracing life. “I suppose I always knew I was gay,” says Aaron. “But I couldn’t always picture myself having a happy life as a gay person. Growing up in Clare and going to a small school, the word ‘gay’ wasn’t really used and if it was, it wasn’t in a nice way.” Aaron, who is well known in local GAA circles, admits that, for a time, he tried to fit in with what was considered to be the norm in …

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Never Give Up, Face Things Head On

OPENING up about her battle with anxiety and depression, which led to suicidal thoughts, Fiona O’Brien, a 25-year-old psychiatric nurse from Kildysart, is encouraging people to talk, seek support and is reminding young people in particular that it is ok not to be ok. Last Thursday was World Mental Health Day and this year’s theme is Suicide Prevention, as set by the World Federation for Mental Health. Fiona qualified as a psychiatric nurse three years ago and had really been enjoying it but her life took a turn. The end of a relationship, coupled with pressures at work and societal pressures, led to her mental health beginning to suffer. She explained that no one thing triggered it but just “life happened”. “I suffer from anxiety and depression. It has been going on for some time. I worked through a lot of it myself. As I’m a psychiatric nurse, I know a lot of the things I need to do. I …

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Anxiety rocketing among ‘smartphone generation’

THE new problems that come with young people living out their lives through their phones are a bigger danger to them than alcohol, drugs or teenage sex, according to sport psychologist and teacher Keith Begley. He will deliver a talk at the community hall in Newmarket-on-Fergus on the evening of Saturday, February 16 entitled Let’s Play Outside-The positive role of sport for the wellbeing of the smartphone generation. In very recent years the internet has become constantly accessible meaning young people are growing up very differently to their parents, he says. “It’s a huge problem in that they don’t socialise the way they used to, they’re not involved in the same level of what I call sweat inducing activity as they once were. They don’t need to leave their bedroom anymore to socialise, they socialise online, they socialise through their apps, Snapchat, WhatsApp, Houseparty and so on. It means they don’t have to cycle to their friends, or go over …

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‘Decent sobriety just changes your life completely’

SITTING in The Clare Champion offices are Bríd, who has been sober since 1993, Ger, who has been sober since 1991 and Aodhán, who has been off drink since 1990, with one relapse since then. Asked about what spurred her to give up alcohol, Bríd says, “I was sick of being sick, totally sick of being sick. I couldn’t see a way out; I wasn’t able to listen to anyone. I didn’t actually think I’d be able to get sober at all. I couldn’t cope, I didn’t have a life. My marriage was in bits, the lifestyle was in bits and I realised I had nothing else to blame for the way I was. I was just sick of being sick, sick of the misery. I think that’s the quickest way of explaining it.” For Ger, sobriety didn’t come at the first attempt and he took himself away from Clare to achieve it. “I was drinking from a young age. …

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‘I Hid it so well. No One Knew’

Ennis woman Irene Hehir shares her struggle with depression in the hope of helping others to seek help.  IRENE Hehir describes herself as an “everyday girl living in the town of Ennis”. She has a good life, she has a good job, she has a great family and a great network of friends, but behind it all she was struggling with her mental health. To everyone who knew her, including those closest to her, the now 42 year old, was “Happy go Larry”, “the life and soul of the party”. Her outward life was about being seen to be “having the craic”, “being pure bould, carrying on and having a laugh”. But inside she was in turmoil. Her parents, extended family and friends, who have always been so supportive, didn’t know any of this was going on. In her early teens Irene was systematically bullied, and a physical assault which rendered her unconscious left her in constant fear. Although she …

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Safeguarding adults in health care

The Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) and the Mental Health Commission (MHC) are today (Wednesday) hosting a seminar in the Law Society of Ireland on the safeguarding of adults in health and social care services. The seminar, Adult Safeguarding: Promoting Rights, Health and Wellbeing, aims to raise awareness of the importance of safeguarding adults who may be vulnerable, and provides attendees with the opportunity to discuss how Ireland can better promote the rights, health and wellbeing of people at risk of abuse or harm. Addressing over 200 delegates, HIQA CEO Phelim Quinn announced that HIQA and the MHC are developing joint national adult safeguarding standards. “These standards aim to minimise and prevent the abuse and neglect of at-risk adults. This must surely be our aim, every bit as much as reporting and investigating abuse when it takes place”. Mr Quinn added, “These standards are just one part of the solution, however. The State must acknowledge its responsibility to protect …

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Coping With the Pressures of Farming

Teagasc and Mental Health Ireland (MHI) have launched a joint publication called ‘Coping with the Pressures of Farming’. It will be a valuable reference for those dealing with farmers on a day-to-day basis, such as agricultural advisors, vets, DAFM officials, banks, suppliers, accountants and solicitors who must be aware of the mental health impacts of financial burdens and other issues affecting the mental health of rural dwellers. It will also be a valuable resource for farm families. Mairead McGuinness MEP, who launched the new publication on the Teagasc stand at the National Ploughing Championships, said, “This is an important and timely publication. It provides the tools to allow farming families to identify the symptoms of persistent stress, but more importantly what to do about it.” She continued, “I commend those involved in compiling this comprehensive booklet and urge farming families to use the information and supports outlined in it and learn how to recognise the symptoms of stress and take …

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Suicide strategy to assist gardaí to help others

THE introduction of a new three-year suicide prevention strategy will provide greater assistance to Clare gardaí in their work to help those suffering from psychological distress. In relation to the new Connecting for Life Suicide Prevention Action Plan, steering group member Chief Superintendent John Kerin said, for the first time, this gives gardaí more of a focus as to who in communities can help people suffering from acute distress. “Previously, gardaí were often the first responders and there really wasn’t a great follow-up. But now, getting involved in the Connecting for Life process, we understand all the agencies that can help,” he said. Superintendent Kerin said virtually every garda in the Clare division has completed training in the area of suicide prevention and awareness. Acknowledging that gardaí have engaged in acts of self-harm and have died by suicide, Superintendent Kerin said garda management is very aware of this issue and noted that a 24-hour independent service is available to gardaí …

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