I am very passionate about mental health. It has been a passion of mine for a number of years now. For my thesis for my Masters I decided to design a Well-being short course for students. I am currently writing it and I will hand it up to my supervisor in August for correction. I really admire Bressie for advocating for mental health. A few months ago I wrote a blog post about him. You can read it by clicking here.
Bressie is right when he says that mental health is the ‘epidemic of this generation’. Walk into a school and try and find one person who has not been affected by mental health. You cannot!
Everyone in Ireland is affected by mental health either themselves or through a family member or a friend. Last Thursday, Bressie gave a passionate speech about mental heath and well-being at a meeting of the Oireachtas health committee. He said the government needs to act to help young people dealing with mental health issues.The youth of today feel immense pressure from the world they live in today. They are living in the digital age where they face pressure from media and social media. They think they must have perfect lives and they cannot deal with this pressure. Young people in Ireland need more help. They need more support.
Bressie: ‘The reality is our youth, the future of this country, need help. They are exposed to too much, so much is expected from them, and both the external and internal pressures they are being asked to cope with are simply not sustainable, and the result is the great epidemic of this generation.’
Bressie pointed out the high anxiety, depression and suicide rates among young people in Ireland. He really made the Oireachas and everyone in Ireland think when he ask ‘Truly are doing enough?’.
Bressie: ‘Agonising suicide rates, disturbingly high anxiety and depression rates, self-harm, eating disorders, OCD … We simply cannot ignore this anymore. We have to be honest and ask ourselves, ‘Truly are we doing enough?’
Bressie was not overly negative. He positively pointed out that Ireland has improved in recent years. He said the country is currently in a period of transition, noting the ‘stigma that has ravaged families throughout Ireland for generations is slowly eroding’. We are slowly beating the stigma against mental health. Change is not easy. It is not something that happens overnight. We are on the right path. He said schools, students and organisations across the country are doing ‘powerful work’ in this area. I ask you now to think and ask yourself what can I do to improve this? Everybody needs to do something in order to make a change. Do not just leave it up to other person. YOU need to do something too!
Bressie proposed a number of measures, including that mental health and well-being are implemented into the education curriculum, and an increase in funding and support to organisations helping people with mental health issues. Well-being is the ‘epidemic of our generation’ and we must do more for young people than we currently are. This issue must be addressed in healthcare and in schools and the government needs to support hospitals and schools and provide them both with resources for this.
‘Bressie speaking about someone close to him committing suicide-‘He was anyone’s brother. We need to ask hard questions. Those stories are too common. So many people wanted to help this young man, but their hands were tied by bureaucracy and lack of resource and they should never be put in that position.’
Pieta House 01 601 0000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org – (suicide, self-harm)
Samaritans 116 123 or email email@example.com
Childline 1800 66 66 66 (for under 18)
Console 1800 247 247 – (suicide prevention, self-harm, bereavement)
Aware 1890 303 302 (depression, anxiety)
Teen-Line Ireland 1800 833 634 (for ages 13 to 19)