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.
Minding your Wellbeing
Free series of online video resources to learn and practice key elements of mental wellbeing such as mindfulness, gratitude, self-care and resilience from HSE Health and Wellbeing.
Free online counselling and online support groups for people over 18
Online counselling service
Remote support and an outreach service to people who use Shine services by phone and email.
Suicide or Survive (SOS)
Free online wellness workshops and programmes
Stress control classes to learn new stress management skills and mind your mental health from HSE Health and Wellbeing.
The programme is for 3 weeks on Mondays and Thursdays and commences again from Monday 2 November 2020.
Visit HSE Health and Wellbeingfor more information.
Individual, couple and family therapy sessions online and phone.
Helplink Mental Health
Free low-cost online counselling services and educational resources.
Phone, email and text support
An anonymous professional telephone counselling service for survivors of physical, emotional and sexual abuse including former residents of Mother and Baby Homes.
Emotional support to anyone in distress or struggling to cope.
Freephone 116 123 every day 24 hours a day
Telephone and text-based support counselling for people who are suicidal or engaging in self-harm.
Freephone 1800 247 247 every day 24 hours a day
Text HELP to 51444 – standard message rates apply
Information and support to anyone over 18. Issues relating to mood or the mood of a friend or family member, or who has depression or bipolar.
Phone ‘Support and Self Care Peer Group’ for people experiencing:
- mild to moderate depression
- bipolar disorder
- mood-related conditions
Irish Hospice Foundation
A freephone bereavement support line providing information, connection, comfort and support.
Phone 1800 807 077 Monday to Friday from 10am to 1pm.
Visit hospicefoundation.ie for more information.
A free 24/7 text service, providing everything from a calming chat to immediate support for people going through a mental health or emotional crisis.
Text HELLO to 50808, anytime day or night.
Visit www.text50808.ie for more information.
LGBT+ helpline 1890 929 539every day
Gender identity family support line 01 907 3707
Online instant messaging support 6.30pm to 10pm Monday to Thursday, 4pm to 10pm Friday and 4pm to 6pm Saturday and Sunday.
firstname.lastname@example.org for support or information
Mental Health Ireland
HSE Mental Health Recovery Colleges
Recovery education colleges and services provide mental health recovery education.
Timetables have been developed to support people through recovery education.
Visit Recovery Education
Grow Mental Health Recovery
Weekly online peer support groups. Podcasts, practical resources and information.
Together 4 Cancer Concern
Telephone support with cancer counsellors. Links to nationwide community cancer support centres and a team of clinical psychologists.
Freephone 1800 200 700
Visit the HSE National Cancer Control Programme for more information.
The National Association for People with an Intellectual Disability. Easy-read guides on coronavirus. These include one about good mental health for people with intellectual disabilities.
Exchange House Ireland National Traveller Mental Health Service
Traveller Counselling Service
Online counselling to members of the Traveller community who need support during this time.
BodywhysConnect – online support groups for adults with eating disorders.
YouthConnect – online support groups for young people aged 13-18.
Helpline 01 2107906 Monday, Wednesday and Sunday from 7.30pm to 9.30pm and Saturday from 10.30am to 12.30pm
Visit bodywhys.ieor email email@example.com for support
Union of Students in Ireland
Tips and resources to keep your mind healthy.
College of Psychiatrists in Ireland
Short videos for families of young people with mental illness. These include measures that can help during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Visit the College of Psychiatrists in Ireland.
Supports for younger people, their parents or guardians
BeLonG To Youth Services
Support for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI+) young people in Ireland.
Text LGBTI+ to 086 1800 280 to chat confidentially with a trained crisis volunteer anytime – standard SMS rates may apply.
While face-to-face services are closed, information, referral and advice is available by email, SMS, phone call or video conference.
Visit belongto.org for more information
Mental health support and advice to young people aged 12 to 25 years old and parents or concerned adults.
Freephone 1800 544729 from 1pm to 5pm Monday to Friday.
Text CALL ME to 086 180 3880with your preferred day and time for a call.
firstname.lastname@example.org – replies 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday
Visit jigsaw.ie or jigsawonline.ie
Telephone support for parents in response to the challenges during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Freephone 1800 910 123 from 10am to 2pm Monday to Friday.
Barnardos also provide a children’s bereavement helpline service.
Telephone 01 473 2110
10am to 12pm Monday to Thursday.
Articles and information for young people on many different topics including mental health.
Text SPUNOUT to 086 1800 280to talk to a trained volunteer – standard message rates may apply.
Supports for older people
The Alzheimer Society of Ireland
Grow Mental Health
Weekly online peer support groups. Podcasts, practical resources and information.
Age Friendly Ireland
A list of all Local Authority Community Response Forums and their contact helpline numbers to support vulnerable members of communities affected by COVID-19 restrictions.
These mobile apps can help you manage anxiety. They have been approved for listing here by the HSE Mental Health Group.
The app developers are solely responsible for their compliance and fitness for purpose. These apps are not supplied by the HSE and the HSE is not liable for their use.
Mindshift (by Anxiety Canada)
MindShift CBT teaches about anxiety, helping users to engage in healthy thinking and to take action. Users check in each day to track their anxiety and work with tools in the app.
Headspace is a well-known mobile app that teaches meditation and easy to use mindfulness skills. Map your journey and track your progress and ‘buddy up’ with friends and motivate each other.
For teenage mental health charity Stem4. The app uses CBT to focus on learning to reduce the physical responses to threat by learning to breathe, relax and be mindful as well as changing thoughts and behaviours and releasing emotions. You can personalise the app and track your progress.
HSE Eating Disorder Self Help App
A self-care app for people:
- with an eating disorder
- caring for someone with an eating disorder
- worried about developing an eating disorder
- diagnosed or are recovering from an eating disorder
From the HSE National Clinical Programme for Eating Disorders and Bodywhys.
24 hours a day, emotional support:
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 email@example.com, 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.