World Mental Health Day
Today is recognised as World Mental Health Day and this year’s theme is all about young people and mental health in a changing world.
Mental health is an important topic for everyone, and particularly so for Irish people. Studies have shown that suicide levels have remained consistently high for Irish people over three decades and have not shown the decline seen in other populations.
There are numerous factors that can affect our mental health and wellbeing including cultural influences, lifestyle choices and even the migration experience can negatively impact our mental health.
Every year thousands of young Irish find themselves changing worlds in a changing world. Irish geographical and cultural closeness to Britain might be considered as an advantage to migrants. However, research over 40 years shows Irish migrants to have consistent high vulnerability to mental disorders.
Researchers have only recently begun to explore the possible reasons for this, with unprepared or spontaneous migration suggested as one of the main contributing factors.
The NHS in England is trying to shorten waiting times and increase access to mental health care for children and adults. The Care Quality Commission found last year that some under–18s in England were waiting for 18 months to get help.
In the light of these challenges, the prime minister has appointed what is thought to be the world’s first minister for suicide prevention, Jackie Doyle–Price, in a bid to cut the number of people taking their own lives.
The Voluntary Sector
As well as seeking support from the NHS, the role of the voluntary and community organisations in supporting mental health conditions is well established. These organisations are rooted in their communities, are trusted by the people they work with, have a long history of social action and user–led interventions, sit outside of clinical settings, and can offer significant and effective levels of support.