The reason why I entitle many of my seminars ‘Pathways to Health and Happiness’ is because there is no instant route to the precious treasures of health and happiness. Psychology can only offer pathways. Everyone needs to work at developing rituals or habits that will empower them to experience more happiness and better health.
All the strategies that I share with my audiences are scientifically proven to be of benefit but there is no magic wand. Our life is a journey and we have to work at things. We need to be proactive. However, very simple approaches can make life more meaningful and fulfilling for everybody. You can colour the remainder of this day brilliantly with the hours left in it. We all underestimate our potential to enhance the quality of our life. Hopefully you found some useful tips when you listened to me or on this website .
Sometimes it can prove hard to even rise to the small changes that can make a huge difference to our lives. Many people experience depression or anxiety and may not have the energy even to contemplate the strategies that I propose. In such circumstances it’s important not to lose hope. Thousands of people experience these mental health challenges and there are lots of supports and interventions to alleviate such symptoms. Maybe, the best decision you could make would be to seek help. Help is out there.
If you are thinking about arranging an appointment with a counsellor, ask about their qualifications and whether they are registered with an accrediting body. You can find information on accreditation at CounsellingDirectory.ie.
A G.P. can also recommend counselling services in your area. These might include free, low cost or private options. I think a recommendation from a G.P. is a very good idea because he or she would have a working relationship with this professional and refers patents to him/her because of positive feedback.
A list of competently qualified chartered psychologists can be found on www.psychologicalsociety.ie. You should select either clinical or counselling in the ‘Find a Psychologist’ section and then select your preferred county/location.
Other options include:
Counselling in primary care
Medical card holders aged 18 and over can access counselling in primary care, if your
G.P. thinks it would be of benefit. This is a short-term service offering up to eight sessions
with a counsellor. This counselling is suitable for those with mild and moderate
depression and other mental health difficulties.
Community and non-statutory services
Many community and non-statutory organisations offer free or low-cost counselling.
Charities such as Pieta House offer counselling specifically for those who are having
suicidal thoughts. Agencies such as Aware and Grow offer support groups. Jigsaw offers
support to young people. Turn2Me provides online support groups and counselling.
24 hours a day, emotional support:
Samaritans Free helpline: 116 123
Samaritans is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for anyone struggling to cope. For confidential, non-judgemental support please call 116 123, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.samaritans.ie for details of the nearest branch.
Self harm support:
Find your closest branch: www.pieta.ie/index.php/contact-us
Pieta House offers specialised treatment to clients who self-harm, suffer from suicidal ideation or have made multiple suicide attempts. Clients receive an intensive programme of one-to-one counselling lasting about four to six weeks. Pieta House is a non-profit organisation and the service is free of charge.
Young people experiencing symptoms
If you are a young person, the organisations listed below provide lots of information and support for getting through life’s ups and downs.
Free helpline: 1800 666 666
Online Chat: www.childline.ie
Teentxt service: text the word “Talk” to 50101
Childline provides a free and confidential listening service to children and young people up to the age of 18. The Childline helpline is open every day, 24 hours a day and Childline Online Chat is open every day 10am – 10pm.
Find Jigsaw projects: www.jigsaw.ie
Jigsaw is a network of programmes across Ireland designed to make sure every young person has somewhere to turn to and someone to talk to. There are Jigsaw projects in 10 communities including Clondalkin, Donegal, Dublin 15, Galway, Kerry, Meath, North Fingal, Offaly, Roscommon and Tallaght. You can take a virtual tour of Jigsaw here.
ReachOut.com helps young people get through tough times. By providing quality mental health information and covering issues that can impact our mental health, ReachOut.com takes the mystery out of mental health.
The website, SpunOut.ie, carries a range of health information for young people, including mental health, sexual health, exam stress and general lifestyle information. SpunOut also has an extensive online directory allowing site visitors to search for supports and services in their area.
Problems with sleeping?
I highly recommend mindfulness. Mindfulness is proven to be very effective for sleeplessness but the snag is that it has to be daily. It also takes time and patience to become ‘good’ at it. All studies confirm its benefits as a structured daily activity. The research is emphatic about it and I have spoken to many people who had difficulties with sleep until they started to practice mindfulness meditation on a regular basis. Courses (half-day and full-day sessions) are available at the Sanctuary centre in Dublin. The website is http://www.sanctuary.ie.
A book I recommend is: Mindfulness: A practical guide to finding peace in a frantic world by Prof Mark Williams/Dr. Danny Penman (comes with a CD)
The Sleep Clinic at Bon Secours, Dublin is worth considering if quality of life is significantly affected by sleeplessness. Here is the link
Sometimes there can be personal issues at the root of sleeplessness – hurts, worries or trauma. These can be deep-rooted from the past. The best place to resolve these issues is in one-to-one therapy. You’ll know yourself if this is something that you need to avail of. If it is – then you should liaise with your GP for his or her recommendation for a psychologist or counsellor. There is a list of psychologists for all the counties on the website http://www.psihq.ieYou’ll have to work at it. It’s a project where one tries to improve sleeplessness with various approaches. I am confident that you can improve your sleeping.