I believe that we are aware of the lack of funding and resource that our health service faces due to political and social issues. There has been a recent report that up to 70% of (newly qualified) GPs are wanting to work elsewhere because of better working conditions. To add to this shortfall “GPs are warning of disaster if Brexit forces doctors from Europe to leave NI.” It has been reported by RCGP that EU doctors make up “11% of the GP workforce in Northern Ireland.” As published in Belfast Telegraph
Whilst most of these issues are out of our hands there are things that we can do as individuals to lessen the impact on our GP service while benefitting our own mental and physically wellbeing.
One of the ways we can do this is by taking pre-emptive measures by educating ourselves as to how to better look after our mental and physical health.
Whilst we are not going to be able to eliminate all ill heath by adopting a heathy life styles, we will significantly reduce ill heath by implementing some changes as to how we decide to live.
Another way of supporting our health service is by supporting charities in our local communities. Especially our mental health charities who are fulfilling vital roles, particularly at this crucial time.
There are many ways of supporting a local charity that is close to your own heart, be it by donations, raising funds or giving some of your very valuable time to volunteer.
It is my personal mission to support such endeavours and this is why I have decided to approach Mindfulness workshops in this way.
By attending Mindfulness workshops with Tir na nog Therapy, not only are you educating yourself and taking greater responsibility of your health, but you are at the same time supporting much needed charities in your local community because 5-20% of the cost of workshops will go towards a local charity.
One of the charities very close to my heart is Suicide down to Zero. Although they are not a mental health charity they are doing tremendous work in campaigning and raising awareness about suicide and its impact on the people who wish to end their life and also the impact on the community.
There's still a misconception that a person who has suicide ideations or contemplates suicide is mentally ill even though there is overwhelming evidence to the contrary. I believe this lack of understanding can be attributed to the lack of awareness of Emotional wellness and how that impacts a person’s life, perception, resilience and their ability to cope.
Myth: “ Only people with mental disorders are suicidal.”
Fact: “Suicidal behaviour indicates deep unhappiness but not necessarily mental disorder. Many people living with mental disorders are not affected by suicidal behaviour, and not all people who take their own lives have a mental disorder.” World Health Organisation.
No one should suffer alone, and I believe it is up to all of us to insure that people can talk freely about how bad they are feeling without fear of the stigma of being described as mentally ill. Nor indeed should there be a stigma about mental illness FULL STOP!
It is important to highlight also that for every person who ends their life there is a knock-on effect on the community. The loss of a loved one to suicide obviously results in grief which then leads to many people needing professional help in order to cope with that grief. A loss of a loved one might also lead to depression, isolation and anxiety, to name but a few issues, again increasing the pressures on GPs and local mental health charities. The current waiting list for free therapy can be 10 weeks to 6 months depending on what area you live in.
I think we can clearly see that as a community our needs are interwoven. It is by taking pre-emptive measures to educate ourselves about mental, physical, emotional & spiritual wellness that we can play an impactful role in tackling the issues we face, both as individuals, and as members of our community.
Suicide Down to Zero was set up in 2014. Its aims to eradicate suicide in Northern Ireland.
“We want to see deaths reduce from around 300 every year to zero.” A statement from Pat McGreevy, one of the chair persons and key founder of the charity. For more information about SDZ visit their web site at sdz.org.uk