Mental Health – Darkness into Light


May is Mental Health Awareness Month and therefore time to transform Darkness in Light!

Pieta House has postponed this year’s Darkness into Light walks.

Without the funds raised by this event, all of Pieta’s services are now facing an immediate and devastating financial crisis. More than 80% of our funds come from the public, and they need you to help them today to keep their lifesaving services available to those who need them most, especially during these darkest days.

As Pieta House – Darkness into Light walk won’t take place this May, Pieta House and Electric Ireland would like to invite everyone to show community and solidarity with those impacted by suicide by:

Getting up at 5:30am on 9th May to watch the sunrise from their homes. Please spread our message and offer hope by wearing a Darkness Into Light t-shirt, or anything yellow, and sharing your sunrise moment using #DILSunriseAppeal #DIL2020.

Suicide in Ireland

At the end of 2019 it was announced that the number of people who died by suicide in Ireland had fallen in recent years, according to provisional data contained in the 2018 Annual Report of the National Office for Suicide Prevention (NOSP).

According to provisional figures provided by the Central Statistics Office, 352 people died by suicide in 2018, compared to 437 people in 2016. In 2012; during the 2008 economic recession and the consecutive recovery which began in 2014, the figure was 577.

Statistics show that roughly an 80% of cases were men while only 20% were females. People between 15-19 and 45-54 year-old age groups are at highest risk.

More than 16,000 phone calls have been made to a support line for older people launched in March as concerns mount over the mental health effects of “cocooning” during the Covid-19 lockdown. Those at higher risk such as people aged over 70; have been requested not to leave their homes. The repercussions of this move have led to many being cut off from normal contact. Reports show that of those who contacted its service, over 70 per cent live on their own.

We have finally heard plans to reopen the country and begin what has been described as a ‘new normal’ life. Most people’s lives have changed or might change in some way over a period of days, weeks or months. But in time, it will pass.

Keeping a realistic perspective of the situation based on facts is important. The constant stream of social media updates and news reports about coronavirus could cause you to feel worried. Sometimes it can be difficult to separate facts from rumours. Use trustworthy and reliable sources to get your news.


Steps for Good Mental Health

Keep up your healthy routines

Your routine may be affected by the coronavirus outbreak in different ways. But during difficult times like this, it’s best if you can keep some structure in your day. It’s important to pay attention to your needs and feelings, especially during times of stress. You may still be able to do some of the things you enjoy and find relaxing.

For example, you could try to:

  • Exercise regularly, especially walking but keep within 5 kilometres of your home.
  • Keep regular sleep routines.
  • Maintain a healthy, balanced diet.
  • Avoid excess alcohol.
  • Practice relaxation techniques such as breathing exercises.
  • Read a book.
  • Search for online exercise or yoga classes, concerts, religious services or guided tours.
  • Improve your mood by doing something creative.
Stay connected to others

During times of stress, friends and families can be a good source of support. It is important to keep in touch with them and other people in your life. If you need to restrict your movements or self-isolate, try to stay connected to people in other ways.

Remember that talking things through with someone can help lessen worry or anxiety. You don’t have to appear to be strong or to try to cope with things by yourself.

Try to anticipate distress and support each other

Acknowledge your feelings. Remind yourself and others to look after your physical and mental health. If you smoke or drink, try to avoid doing this any more than usual. It won’t help in the long-term.

Don’t judge people or make assumptions about who is responsible for the spread of the disease. The coronavirus can affect anyone regardless of age, gender, nationality or ethnicity. We are all in this together.

Face-to-face services are limited at the moment because of the coronavirus outbreak. But some services are providing online and phone services.