As the ballots were counted this weekend, the topic of mental health silently echoed across this beautiful Isle as once again, its significance had to be highlighted on numerous campaigns over previous weeks. While voters struggling with depression sat alongside their families hoping to see change, celebrities such as Bressie and The Rubber Bandits pleaded to politicians via social media, letters and even videos to get more eyes on this topic. As someone who had been confident with her vote-choice earlier in the week, I quickly changed my tune as I realised those I was in favor of had very little to offer in terms of solutions to our crisis surrounding mental health and suicide. Now, as our new government gets comfortable in the Dail, all we can do is wait and hope for the best…
Or, is there another way?
Actually, there is.
I sat in House Dublin with a glass of bubbly in one hand and my iphone in the other as I networked and chatted to fellow bloggers on the fifth of February 2016. As per usual, I found it quite easy to connect with bloggers as we often have lots in common and are used to getting to know each other online. Of course, on this occasion, we were also there for an extra important reason – to raise money for Aware and to highlight an epidemic that is crippling the country.
Perfectly organised by Covet Mimi and wonderfully hosted by Snapchat star James Patrice, there were four inspirational speakers on the night – Meghan Scully, RoseMary McCabe, Jenni Murphy and Alan Quinlan – all sufferers of mental health challenges and all with an inspirational story to tell. They are survivors and each had found help for both themselves and those they’ve supported over the years. The main message was that talking about what’s going on for us is OK and that there is help out there – whether that comes in the form of medication, counseling or simply, taking time for yourself with tools such as exercise.
Banding together is more necessary now than ever. Going out into the world and trying to cure it of struggle isn’t what’s been asked here. Making a little difference by openly talking about mental health, reaching out to someone who might be suffering or sharing your personal story will get us one step closer to where we need to be.
Aware are always looking for volunteers and fundraisers around the country. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled.