NEWS

Avoid the Mind Monsters: HSE’s mental health advice for young people preparing for exams

WaterfordLive.ie

Reporter:

WaterfordLive.ie

Email:

news@waterfordlive.ie

Avoid the Mind Monsters: HSE’s mental health advice for young people preparing for exams

The HSE has launched a new phase of a mental health information programme for young people called Mind Monsters.

The Mind Monsters campaign was initiated in 2018, aiming to help adolescents and young adults through tough times and give them support on how to look after their mental health. Focusing on things that are known to cause stress and anxiety for your people, the campaign highlights the benefits that taking regular study breaks, getting enough sleep, spending less time on devices and sharing a problem with someone you trust can have on your mental health.

A range of printed materials, including posters and postcards for schools and youth clubs and organisations have been developed, using feedback from young people and from experts working in mental health services and related areas. These are now available to order free of charge through healthpromotion.ie. A digital and radio media campaign supports the Mind Monsters programme, with short animations for social media as well as new online content on the HSE’s dedicated YourMentalHealth.ie website.

The campaign features on radio, digital and social media. It will signpost to YourMentalHealth.ie which underwent significant redevelopment last year and is particularly relevant to young people who access information online every day. They will be able to find personalised support options through a search tool that generates information on online resources, telephone and face-to-face services relevant to a wide range of mental health issues including depression, anxiety and stress.

Speaking about the campaign, Minister of State for Mental Health and Older People Jim Daly said: "I am delighted that the HSE have launched this campaign for young people. It is very timely considering that many are now preparing for or taking part in exams at school or at third level. Stress is a normal part of life and it affects us all but at this time of year there can be a lot of pressure, particularly around exams. YourMentalHealth.ie is a great resource for young people who are experiencing anxiety and offers much needed information on where to go for support. I think that providing online supports for young people is a good way to ensure that any young person in need of help and advice can access it when and where they need it.

"I am currently working with the HSE to develop several new digital services including a text based active listening service which is due to be launched in the coming months and we are piloting a number of services where people can access online counselling using their mobile phone, laptop or home computer. This way of doing things has amazing potential to reach many people where they are and allows for a confidential consultation from a location that suits the person."

HSE assistant national director for mental health operations Mr Jim Ryan added: “Developing this campaign was a great opportunity to collaborate with partner organisations as well as young people themselves on how best to address some of the issues they are facing today like exams or relationship difficulties. One of the best ways to deal with difficult emotions is to talk about them, but this isn’t always easy to do. We now have new content on YourMentalHealth.ie that was developed by and for young people. By providing information on these topics we wanted to empower young people to be able to tackle issues themselves and take proactive steps to mind their mental health. YourMentalHealth.ie also signposts to a range of available supports and services. This campaign forms part of our efforts to deliver on our commitments under Connecting for Life, Ireland’s national strategy to reduce suicide."

Head of Childline Margie Roe said: “Over 310,000 children and young people across Ireland contact Childline every year to talk about all sorts of issues which may be on their minds. They may be hurt, upset, afraid, or may simply wish to have someone with whom to chat about their day. There is no issue too big or too small to talk about with Childline. The service is free to contact and can be reached by phone, text or online chat.

"Children and young people have been contacting Childline in increasing numbers in recent years, with many finding they are more comfortable using text or online chat as they do not fear being overheard and can more easily address issues which they might find too upsetting to speak about out loud. Volunteers who facilitate Childlne’s new online Live Chat system listen to, support and empower children and young people online every day. Information on a topics ranging from Feelings and Emotions to Online Safety is also available at Childline.ie.”