Anything is possible


The Government and mental health


Mental health is something that we as a country can no longer push under the carpet and forget about. We need to work together as a country including the government and work on making mental health a priority and not because of the increasing numbers of suicides but because mental health deserves as much attention as anything else, if not more attention. Our mental health is as important as our physical health if not more important!!

I am glad to finally see our government doing something about mental health with the mental health reform. Ireland’s mental health reform has a goal that people with mental health difficulties can recover to good health and live their life to the full. Ireland’s mental health reform is working to promote improved and prioritised mental health services in Ireland and I think that it is about bloody time they decided to help those who are suffering in silence.

You might be thinking what the mental health reform does well it does the following:

“Mental Health Reform works with its members through education, information, support and training to help bring about structural and cultural changes in mental health matters.

Structural change. This means making changes to the way the mental health services are organised.  It includes, for example, making changes to how services are delivered, changes to how budgets are spent, changes to mental health workers’ responsibilities health services and so on. The aim of structural change is to provide the best possible mental health service in Ireland.

Cultural change. This means changing the way mental health workers, people with mental health difficulties, their families and the local communities think about mental health. In the past, people with mental health difficulties were often not listened to or treated as passive receivers of care. It is important that this changes and that they are treated as equal partners on their way to recovery. This can only be done by educating everyone involved with mental health services on the ideas within A Vision for Change.”

-Mentalhealthreform.ie

Now you know the basic of what mental health reform is doing my question is to you:

Do you think that this is enough?

And what’s more do you think the government is still pushing mental health under the carpet?

Are the government really doing anything on this matter or do you believe that they are just saying they will do all of this?

Photo of the day. :)

Family day :) (Tom should be there too)

Teen Between


When parents separate it is a hard time especially for the children. You may become confused, angry, upset and there are so many other feelings that you could experience. It can be hard and sometimes people forget about you (the child) because separation is becoming very common in families nowadays. But there are always people out there who want to help and there is always support available. Teen Between is a website that is there to support children and teens through the difficult time they may be experiencing if their parents are going through separation.

Teen between has resources for both parents and children who are experience separation. It contains lots of information about getting support, helping others and it also has information regarding family law and mediation.

Going through a time when your parents are separating is a hard time; I have had experience of it too, very little though. My parents got back together but not all parents get back together after they separate for a while. So if you are experiencing parental separation in your family don’t fret there is help and support out there for you. Take a look at TeenBetween.ie for some need to know information about separation and also for some support and guidance through this difficult time. And just remember things do get better.

Song of the week :)

Never Alone

So I met the guy who wrote this post at my Wave Change bootcamp weekend and I have to say I really admire the work that he is doing.

Hi my name is Luke Clerkin, I am a mental health activist ,an ambassador for Teen-line IRELAND and a singer/songwriter  from Tallaght. I am also the co-writer of a single being released next month for suicide prevention and Teen-Line Ireland, called Never Alone.


My work as a mental health activist began after I read a post on Facebook about a friend of a friend
dying of suicide. At that point I had overcome my own suicidal thoughts and I was recovering from
depression and after reading that I thought to myself 'I have to do something to help people who are
going through what I'm going through'.

So I wrote a status on Facebook revealing my own struggles:
Right people , I'm not looking for likes, I'm not looking for sympathy, I just have to put this out there because I'm tired of hearing of people so young, taking their own lives. Depression is not something to be laughed about, it's a sickness and if you're experiencing it, it doesn’t mean you're weak or that you're on your own, there are thousands of people going through the same thing. So if you're reading this and feel you're suffering with depression please just talk to someone, that’s what I did and it's the best thing I've ever done and I'm happier now than I've ever been before.

I then thought ‘I can do more to help’, so I decided to get in contact with some charities whose aims were to help young people in need of someone to talk to. Eventually I ended up going to Teen-line Ireland and asked them could I organise a fundraising gig. I chose to do a fundraising gig because I had just picked up the guitar again after 6 or 7 years of not playing it and thought it would be an opportunity to not only share my own music but to show how the power of music itself can make a difference. So after about 3 months of canvassing around Tallaght, getting the word out about the gig (which was to be held in Captain America’s, R.I.P. L ) and getting acts to play and getting raffle prizes, with the help of some family and friends,  I ran the event. It went smoother than I’d expected it to be and all the worrying and panic attacks I’d succumbed over the months previous had been worth it and we raised over 350 euro.  After the success of the Captain’s gig, I wanted to go bigger and bigger but I’d suffered a few knock backs about venues and other personal stuff came up so I spiralled back into the darkness.

After a while I came out of the darkness and back into the light and recorded a video for Suicide Awareness week as I’d felt guilty about not doing anything since Captain’s. I went around Dublin City with a camera to see what people knew about depression and suicide. I then perked up the courage to go looking for a job and ended up working in a garage as a shop/deli assistant. I had previously gone to interviews for other jobs but because I had told them about my struggles with mental health, I had never been given a position. The only reason I got the job in the deli is because I had experience working in one a few years back and the manager was only a year older than me, so he understood what I was going through. At first, my anxiety was a problem in the workplace and I had a nervous breakdown one day when the shop was really busy but after that everything went grand until I was given a lot of hours and for about a month or two and then I didn’t have the time or energy to do any of my activism work. It then came to world suicide day and I had come home from work to see other people writing up posts on Facebook about their own experiences with suicide and I thought to myself again ‘I have to do something!’ So I just started typing lyrics onto note pad , those lyrics were thoughts I’d been holding in for months so they just burst onto the screen.  I then picked up my acoustic guitar and started strumming a random chord progression I’d taught myself and sang the lyrics along to it.

For the next few weeks, the lyrics were just left on the computer rotting in the documents folder because I had been given loads of hours in work, so I had no time to do anything with them.  Eventually I left the garage due to my hours being shortened and I’d begun to work on the song again. Then one day I was going into town on the luas for a rehearsal with Clover Coast ( the band I’m in) and I read on Facebook that someone had committed suicide not too far from my house. This story had made me upset as had other stories of suicide victims and it wasn’t till after the rehearsal that I’d found out it was someone I had been a few years ahead of in school, Glen Haybyrne. I knew Glen from school and from knocking about the estate when I was growing up, I also knew all his friends, so this impacted me even more, and seeing all their posts on Facebook and seeing how much he meant to people, made me get in contact with a good friend of mine, Gavin Doyle, to ask him to help me work on the song. I said to him ‘we have to something for glen and we have to help other people before it gets worse’. The next day we went to the rehearsal studios in Rua Red with just my lyrics and an acoustic chord progression and came out with the guts of Never Alone. A young lad called Scott Fitzpatrick had also got in touch with me beforehand about wanting to play guitar for the song, he came in with an old acoustic guitar and ended up singing one of the main parts of the song instead. The weeks following our trip to Rua Red were the most progressive weeks of my whole life. To have the track as perfect as possible I went to a number of singers and musicians from around my area and also two of the lads from Clover Coast and asked them to get involved. Cian Donohue, a 22 year old budding music producer had let us record the music and vocals during about ten or more tiring overnight sessions in his studio, Block C Studios. From what started off as just me playing on the acoustic guitar at my computer has emerged into something awe inspiring, something powerful and something that I know is going to help a lot of people! Throughout our recording sessions we went from just being a producer and loads of singers and musicians to becoming a family.  The power of music is something that saved my life and now I vow to make it save the lives of others!

Never Alone will be released in late March/early April. To keep updated on things, please go to http://www.facebook.com/NeverAloneCharitySingle .

The high in life, is to live your life’ – Maureen Bolger, Founder of Teen-line Ireland



A big thank you to all the singers/musicians involved:

(Vocals)

Sandra Hyland 
Gavin Doyle
Gary Tighe 
Niamh O'Neill
Luke Clerkin
Shaunagh Mahon
Johnathan Shanley
Sean O'Leary
Sam Khalaf
Laura Dalton
Scott Fitzpatrick
Ciaran Mulhall



(Musicians)



Sean Wazzer ( Percussion )
Gavin Doyle (Piano)
Liam McDonnell (Guitar)
Dave Tynan (Guitar)
Mikey Hyland (Guitar)
Jay Manassaro (Bass)
Lou Dearsley (Cello)



 A special thank you to Cian Donohue, Marian Shanley West and most importantly everybody who has supported us so far.

Guest Post #1


Mental health awareness wasn't something that was majorly part of my life up until a few years ago. Depression was a word I had heard but never really had to think about. Shortly after my junior cert, that changed. When my dad became depressed, it hit me hard. My relationship with him really faltered quite considerably, and we had constant fights over nothing. When it began, I didn't know what was wrong with him, and neither did he. We fought non-stop and yelled at each other a lot. I found myself hating him, and I couldn't wait to leave home. We always had clashing personalities so when things first started to escalate I just thought I was hormonal or he was stressed, I never suspected what was really happening.

I remember exactly when it got really to breaking point. He was watching TV and I was on the couch near him typing on my laptop. The noise of the typing aggravated him so much that he yelled at me. I went to bed crying that night, not for the first or last time. Soon after that, he went to get help. When my mam told me that the doctor said my dad was depressed, I was a little shocked. As I said, depression wasn't something I'd had to deal with and I didn't know what this meant, but I was scared as heck! I was worried and guilty, and I felt so sorry for him, but I was relieved too - I now knew there was some hope in the distance, and that our bad relationship wouldn't last forever. Things got a little better from then on. I confided in a friend, who really helped me. I felt awkward talking to my mam about it, but I spoke to my aunt from time to time. I was in Transition Year at this stage, and things were really looking up. My mam offered to get counselling for me, but I declined. By the start of fifth year, everything was pretty much back to normal. We still fought from time to time, but definitely not as often as before, and not over such stupid things.

I don't know what triggered it, but Christmas 2011 was awful. My Dad got worse again and he was moody, angry and picking fights with everyone, especially me. My mam and I went to talk to my aunt, and she gave us a lot of guidance. I know a lot of teenagers have issues with religion, but to be honest it really helped me during that time.There's no exact date I can pinpoint that I can say everything got better again. My dad still has his off-days, and we do fight from time to time, but neither of us is in the dark place of the past. I absolutely love him, and he is the best dad a girl could ask for!

One of the things I struggled with about my dad being depressed was the stigma. I'll admit, I was embarrassed to tell people what was wrong with him, and it sickens me that society is taking so long to come around. If a parent (or anyone else) has cancer or a heart condition or diabetes people sympathise and understand, but depression is much harder for people to get their heads around. When someone is depressed, it's just as scary and just as upsetting. There's uncertainty and fear and worry. There are countless nights of tears there's pain...it doesn't matter that you can't see it on an x-ray or in a blood test! Since my dad first got diagnosed, so much has been done to reduce the stigma with mental health, but it's still so taboo in our world. I really hope this changes and soon, because mental health is just as important (if not more important) than every other type of health, and stigmatising people whose mental health is suffering only drags them down. I will always support positive mental health, and any efforts made to reduce the stigma against it, because when you're in there, when you or a loved one is suffering, the importance of it really hits home. 

A jourey




Missing someone you love.


Missing someone you love can occur for many reasons. It may occur due to death, separation, divorce and so much more but in my case and in this blog post today I am going to talk about missing someone you love as a result of death. I have talked a lot about the death of my mam on my blog and this was a huge part of my childhood but I also lost another figure in my life who was more than just a granddad to me, he was a friend, he was my best friend.


Not a day goes by where I don’t think of my granddad. I have always had a close relationship with my granddad but after my mam died we grew closer. I have built up a lifetime of memories with my granddad and they are the most precious things to me, nobody will ever be able to take them away from me and well I guess I want to share them with the people who read my blog. I find it hard to talk about my granddad sometimes but never  to blog about him, it just flows out of me like a river flows downhill.

I always have my granddad with me; after he died I was given his hat... to most people that would mean nothing but to me it means everything. My granddad had a panama jack hat and he wore it everywhere. When he would come up to our house on Wednesdays or any other days I would always take his hat and hide it or I would wear it around the house. It was our little thing.... It was that hat that it brought the two of us close... to me that hat symbolises my granddad. It’s like when my mam died I was given her first ever teddy bear to most people it would just be an old tatty ripped teddy but to me it symbolises my mam.I will never forget how my granddad would smile and say “I bet you didn’t know I could do that” when he would surprise you with something that he did. Sure the week before he died that’s what he said to us after he bet me in a game of pool.

He would wear my hat too :)

I had many names for my granddad and he had many names for me. I was his shove-over, his vampire and his whippersnapper. He was my gaga, my jellyfish and my grumpy. He meant the world to me and helped to fill a hole that was left after my mam died but after he died a bigger hole in my life was created. I miss my granddad and always will but I will never forget all of the amazing times that we shared together. 




Photo of the day. :)


Kellie wanted to make sure she was grounded with out tent!!























Reach Out


When you’re feeling low it can be hard to talk about how you are feeling. Often people may hide how they feel for fear of being judged but it is important that you seek help if you are feeling low for long periods of time. It can be hard to take that first step towards the road to recovery and often you may not know who to talk to and you may not know if you trust people enough to tell them about how you are feeling. Talking is important and if it wasn’t for me talking to people around me I would be here today but there is other ways of taking the first step and getting help. Reach out is a website with tonnes of information about mental health, I know when I was struggling at times this website really helped me. 

You might be thinking that a website might not be able to help you take the first step to seeking help but it can. Reach out helped me because it made me feel like I was not alone and that it was ok for me to feel how I was feeling but it also helped me to build up the  courage to seek help and reach out might be able to do the same for you.

Not only does this website help those who are going through a hard time but it also has resources to help those who are supporting another person who is going through a hard time. There are so many different resources on this website that can help you understand how you are feeling and also guide you through the tough times and help you when it comes to seeking help.

So if you’re feeling low or you know someone who is feeling low take a look at reachout.com and who knows maybe it might be some use to you. Even if you are not going through a hard time take a look at reachout.com because it is an excellent source of education and who knows you might be able to learn a thing or two.

Exercise and mental health

Many people exercise because it’s good for their physical health but it is also good for their mental health. It is a known fact the exercise has positive effects on the brain and we know this due to research that has been conducted over many years. It has been proven that exercise has many antidepressant properties. Doctors in America are said to be prescribing exercise to patients who present to them with signs of depression rather than putting them on medication. In some cases thought medication may be needed but not in all cases.

I believe that exercise is good for your mental health but it wasn’t until I decided to write this post that I thought how exercise is good for your mental health. So without boring you with all the medical and psychological theories I will write in simple English what I learned about how exercise can help improve your mental health. 

So here are two reasons that tell us why exercise is important for our mental health.

1.       Studies have shown that exercise boosts activity in the brain. People don't really know how or why this happens but it does. Animal studies have found that exercise increases levels of serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine (chemicals or something like that) These neurotransmitters have been associated with elevated mood, and it is thought that antidepressant medications also work by boosting these chemicals.
                                                                                                        
2.       Another theory is that the benefits of exercise include the production of endorphins. These natural opiates are chemically similar to morphine. They may be produced as natural pain relievers in response to the shock that the body receives during exercise. However, researchers are beginning to question whether endorphins improve mood.
 
Ok I thought I was going to make that simple but to be honest I don’t really understand my second point and well the Internet didn’t make it easy for me to understand it. But basically the bottom line is that exercise is good for you both mentally and physically. So the next time that you are feeling down why you don’t head out for a walk and see for yourself.

Photo of the day. :)

A picture from one of the Beavers :)

Wave change



A few weeks ago I spent the weekend with a group of 40 plus people I had never met before. These people were all between the ages of 18 and 40 and I just happened to be the only one doing my leaving cert. I mean what are the chances of that happening with a room full of 40 plus people!! Anyway I spent the weekend at the Wave Change boot camp 2013. It was held in Dublin and was run over two days. Right ok I’m sure some of you don’t have a clue what I am rambling on about so let me explain to you what wave change is.
Wave change is a programme that supports people between the ages of 18 and 25 who want to make a difference in the world. These differences could be based around mental health or education or anything that you feel passionate about. The possibilities are endless. If selected for the programme wave change support and invest in your idea during a ten month intensive programme to make your idea a reality.

So I applied for wave change this year thanks to Mrs L informing me about it. My idea was a mental health module for transition years to help and promote positive metal health and raise awareness. I was selected for the boot camp which was help on one day which involve team work, talks, workshops and much more. The boot camp was held on a Saturday from 9.30 until 5.30 with people from all around the country. It ended on Saturday with a trip to the pub, luckily for me I’m 18 but unluckily for me I had a leaving cert to go home and study for :( A well the people I met there were amazing and I am still in contact with some of them even though I didn’t go to the pub.

The second day of the boot camp involved an interview to see if you were to progress onto the final 25 people who would be taking part in the ten month programme. I didn’t feel my interview went well and I didn’t get accepted into the programme but I can still go ahead with my project anyway. I have every intention in applying again next year when I don’t have to worry about my leaving cert!!! I will keep applying until I get accepted!! But I had an amazing weekend; met some amazing and inspirational people and I have been exposed to a whole new aspect of life. So I guess I decided to write this post to say thanks to everybody for the amazing weekend and a huge thanks to Steve who saved me and helped me make it to my interview after I got lost, my phone died and fell. If it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t have made it there at all but I did make it there and only five minutes late. Luckily for me it was a real relaxed kind of thing and being late to the interview didn’t go against me!! Thank God for that!!

Be Positive





Be positive guys, the mocks finish tomorrow!! WOOOOOO

Relaxation


If you’re feeling stress and in need of some relaxation to put your mind at rest here are some ideas of ways you can relax!

1.       Now is the only Time that is important –To be in a state of relaxation means living only in the present moment. Forget about the things that are going on around you and just focus on the moment you are in, focus on the sights and smells but try not to let your mind wander.

2.       Your environment Matters – find a place where you feel relaxed, were you enjoy being and where you can go and be in peace. A place where you are away from the stresses and strains of everyday life!


3.       Meditation – During meditation we actively make time to silence the mind and bring to the fore a real feeling of relaxation. Meditation helps because we learn to control the relentless flow of thoughts. During meditation, the aim is to keep the mind still. Find time to meditate for 10 or 15 minutes each day; through meditation we can easily detach ourselves from the pressures of the world.

4.       Productivity not Procrastination – Relaxation doesn’t have to mean spending all day on a beach doing nothing. Prioritise the things that you need to do. If you do things systematically, one at a time, you will feel less stressed and get things done quickly. It’s when we try to do several things at once that we put ourselves under great pressure don’t make life hard for yourself. Do one thing at a time and enjoy doing it.

5.       Do Not Depend on the Opinions of Others – How much do you depend on the opinion of others? Subconsciously we work towards trying to please others. However, when we have this state of mind it becomes impossible to relax. No matter what we do or say, there will always be someone who manages to find fault. . Relaxation can only occur if we aren’t constantly thinking about what others are saying and doing.

6.       Time to Yourself – Don’t allow yourself to always be at the beck and call of work and other people — make time for yourself. If you are harassed by constant email and phone enquiries, take evasive action. Only take calls and answer emails at certain times of the day. It’s unlikely that your availability, 24 hours a day, is indispensable. When we allow pressures to build up, relaxation becomes very difficult. But, if you really try hard, you should be able to reduce the demands placed on your time and energy.

Relaxation is the perfect way to look after your mental health!!

Photo of the day. :)

I let her into my house eventually 

Pieta House



IF you are feeling suicidal or if you are self-harming there is help out there. There are places to go and talk to people and there is hope that things will get better. One place you can go to if you wish to seek help in overcoming your self-harm is Pieta House. I attended pieta house for one appointment (if I had gone sooner I wouldn’t have ended up to hospital a week later) and first impressions were this place could really help me. It was relaxed and the staff were welcoming and non-judgemental. It was a very friendly environment and to be honest I wish I had gone earlier for treatment!

“We are a Suicide and Self-Harm Crisis Centre, offering an accessible, confidential and free-of-charge counselling service.

So if you are self-harming and in need of some help why not try talking to someone at Pieta house. These services are free of charge and all staff are fully qualified and willing to help those in need and bring about social change.  You can contact Pieta House in the following Ways:

Pieta House Lucan
Lucan Road
Lucan
Dublin
Phone: 01-6010000
Centre Manager: Avril Mansouri


Pieta House Ballyfermot
Mount La Salle
Ballyfermot Road
Dublin 10
Phone: 01-6200020
Centre Manager: Noeleen Devlin


Pieta House Finglas
47 Mellowes Court
Finglas
Dublin 11
Phone: 01-8648899
Centre Manager: Linda Murray


Pieta House Tallaght
St Thomas's Church, Jobstown
Tallaght
Dublin 24
Phone: 087-9368633
Centre Manager: Enda Dowling


Pieta House Midwest
Ardaulin
Mungret
Limerick
Phone: 061-484444
Centre Manager: Nora Conway



Photo of the day. :)

Chillin at the zoo :)

You can’t do it alone.


One of the most beneficial things that helped me through my recovery from depression was and still is my friends. I have to say that if it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t have made it through my time in hospital and I wouldn’t have been motivated to work hard to get through the hardest part of my depression. I must say that I consider myself lucky to have the support of my friends around me, not many people have the type of friends I have. I’m not just talking about my peers, I’m talking about all of the people who are always with me supporting me and encouraging me through the tough times but also through the good times.

I was thinking the other day of one of the most memorable memories of things my friends have done for me and well one of the things stuck out in my mind most occurred while I was in hospital. I felt that my friends thought I wasn’t being fed while I was in hospital. I remember a number of occasions where my dad would come to visit me with food sent in from my friends. I have to say I was fed well in the hospital but the fact that my friends felt the need to send me in cereal, sweets and juice made me feel loved and cared for.

I wouldn’t have made it through my four months in hospital if it wasn’t for my friends and all of the food they gave me, not to mention the food that was given to me by teachers. They stuck by me, supported me and gave me a helping hand along the way. They never let me down no matter how hard things got they stayed by my side. They think they know how grateful I am but nothing I ever do or ever say will show people how grateful I am.

Basically what I am saying is that people think that if they tell people they have a mental illness they will have no support or help along the way. That’s not the case, some people may not have all of the support I received but if you look hard enough you will be able to see that there is people there to support you, and more often than not it will turn out to be the people you least expect that will support you the most. People say I am a strong person from battling through my mental illness and coming out the other end but I think that my friends and family and all the people who have supported me through my dark days are the strong ones, they are much stronger than me and I don’t know what I would have done without them.

There is always someone there to help you along and support you, you are never alone. There will always be someone there to listen to you, you may not know who it is right now but when you are in a crisis you really do learn who your true friends are. So if there is one thing you take from this post is that no matter what, there is always someone there to support you, you may not realise it now but when you are in need of someone to support you.
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