Importance of mental health highlighted on International Men’s Day
The Public Health Agency (PHA) is focusing attention on the need for good mental health this International Men’s Day [19th November], particularly during these challenging times, and is reminding everyone that support is available.
Fiona Teague, Mental and Emotional Wellbeing lead at the PHA, said: “The coronavirus pandemic is causing difficulties for everyone. It is impacting on job security, our businesses are under significant pressure, family relationships are being pushed because of reduced outside connections. Men in particular can sometimes struggle to seek support if they are experiencing feelings of anxiety, stress or depression. However, it is important to know that there is help available, so I would urge anyone in this situation to reach out and speak to someone, whether a friend or family member, a helpline or their GP.
“International Men’s Day is an opportunity to focus on the importance of men’s emotional wellbeing by encouraging any man no matter what they are going through in these challenging times, to look after their mental health, it is as important as looking after physical health. Find the strength to seek help if they are struggling to cope.
“There are places to get help and advice, whether it’s seeking support from one of the many helplines available on the HelplinesNI.com website, including, Advice NI, Parent Line NI, Housing Rights or Lifeline, to name a few –there is someone to speak to confidentially and anonymously over the phone.
“We would also encourage family members and friends to look out for those close to them to see if they notice changes in their behaviour, for example perhaps they aren’t sleeping, there is a change in their mood, emotional outbursts, weight or appetite changes, substance abuse, an increase in alcohol consumption, not taking an interest in things they would have done previously. It’s important to check in on them and ask if are they are OK? and listen to the response. How are they feeling and help them get support and information they need.”
The PHA has a number of resources on the Minding Your Head website including information on the 5 Steps to Wellbeing, as well as easy online access to the COVID Wellbeing NI Hub, offering a range of self-help guides and advice.
If you are worried about someone and their mental health and they need support contact your GP. If they need immediate crisis support, call Lifeline on 0808 808 8000. You can call Lifeline on behalf of someone you are concerned about (with their permission), as the first call can be difficult for them to make. Lifeline crisis counsellors will support you to support them through whatever they are experiencing.
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