World Suicide Prevention Day- The Power of Connections #MentalWellbeingNI2020
This week, we are supporting the five HSC Trusts, Public Health Agency (PHA), and the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS) regional mental well-being campaign to mark World Suicide Prevention Day (10th September) and World Mental Health Day (10th October). The campaign aims to promote the positive mental health and well-being of everyone living in Northern Ireland and will focus on the promotion of self-care and looking after each other using the Take 5 approach.
Tomorrow is World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD), an awareness day marked on 10th September every year. WSPD provides an opportunity for organisations across the globe to come together and raise awareness of mental health and suicide prevention. In support of #MentalWellbeingNI2020, the 5-week campaign will focus on the Take 5 approach. This week will be focused on “Connect” as part of Take 5, so we are going to share our top 5 reasons why connecting with others can benefit your mental health and how you can better connect during difficult times. Feeling connected to others in a socially isolated world is so important, especially now as we continue to go through COVID-19.
Feeling close, and valued by others is argued as a fundamental human need. Strong social relationships are extremely important for promoting positive well-being and can also act as a buffer for those who are struggling with their mental health. Research has shown that by simply reaching out and sharing your concerns with someone you trust can have a major benefit for your mental health and how you approach recovery.
Top 5 reasons why connecting with others can benefit your mental health
1. Opportunity to share feelings
Strong social relationships can provide an excellent opportunity to share your feelings with someone you trust, and this can have major benefits for your mental health such as feeling supported, and understood. Connecting with others can help you better manage your thoughts and can be comforting knowing there is someone there to listen.
2. Increased self-worth and confidence
Relationships can help build a sense of belonging and help improve self-esteem.
3. Decreased risk of suicide
According to Mind Wise, a feeling of connectedness can decrease the risk of suicide and relationships can play a crucial role in protecting against suicidal thoughts and behaviours.
4. Less stress and feelings of anxiety
A simple phone call or chat with a friend can help relieve stress and enable you to better process your emotions.
5. Improved symptoms of depression
People who feel more connected to others have lower rates of anxiety and depression, and engaging in social activities with others can lessen the detrimental effects depression can have on psychological well-being.
How to better connect with others during difficult times
COVID-19 has led to a completely drastic change for all of us in many ways and most of us have had to adjust to new ways of living in some shape or form. The situation has put a strain on the mental health of many across Northern Ireland and may have led to social isolation that was completely unexpected and hard to deal with at first.
However, we have seen people adapt and connect in ways they never have before. From virtual pub quizzes to family Zoom nights, many people found a way to come together while staying apart. As an organisation, we have had to adapt our services and events to meet the social distancing regulations, click here to find out more. AWARE will strive to continue to be a source of support for those who need it.
There are many simple ways to connect with others that can help improve your mental well-being:
- Make time each day to spend time with family, try to prevent distractions by turning off mobile devices and focusing on the people around you.
- Call a family member or close friend and find out how they are.Go for a walk in the fresh air with a friend. How about an AWARE Mood Walk?
- Set up a group chat to connect with your family members and loved ones daily.
If you find it difficult to connect with others, try looking inward and focus on what you like. What are your hobbies and interests? Think about becoming active in your local community, research some volunteering opportunities, or join a community group that will enable you to meet new people and form some new connections.
We hope these tips will help you better your relationships and understand the importance of connecting with others to improve your mental health. Forming strong healthy relationships require a lot of time and effort and we encourage you to open up, actively listen and be open to sharing what you’re going through or the difficulties you face. This is a major step in the road to recovery from symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Remember, it’s okay not to be okay.
If you are struggling and in need of support please call Lifeline on 0808 808 800 or Samaritans on 116 123. You can also call the AWARE support helpline Monday-Friday 11 am-3 pm on 07340488254 or 07548530931. Click here to find out more about AWARE's services.