ANYONE in Fermanagh struggling with their mental health or with suicidal thoughts has been urged to remember that help is at hand, and they should seek it out immediately.
More people died by suicide in the North last year than in any other year since records began, with an average of six people taking their own lives each week. Research by The Detail has revealed that a total of 318 deaths were registered as suicides in 2015, a 19 per-cent increase on the previous year.
Here in Fermanagh, many families have been sadly touched by suicide. However, strong work is being done in the county to help both those in despair, and their families.
From your local GP, to the Arc Healthy Living centre in Irvinestown, to the Oak Healthy Living Centre in Lisnaskea, to a wide range of courses and classes hosted by local groups and GAA clubs, there is a strong support network locally.
One body working hard in the area to promote positive mental and emotional well-being is the Aisling Centre in Enniskillen, who provide counselling and support for individuals and families.
Bridie Sweeney, centre co-ordinator, urged people not to be afraid to ask for help.
“If we don’t recognise our own stress and distress and seek support our mental health and emotional well-being can deteriorate to a point that we can lose hope and begin to feel that life is not worth living, some may even have suicidal thoughts,” she said.
“But no matter how dark or painful life may feel it is important to remember that that there is help available, it is OK to talk about these painful feelings, you will not be judged. Talking to another person in an open and honest way and telling them how you are feeling can bring immense relief, you are not alone. Talking can begin the first steps of a journey back to health.”
Ms Sweeney said people can talk to their GP (out of hours GP 028 71 865195), ring helplines such as lifeline (0808 808 8000) and Samaritans (08457 909090) or contact local services such as the Aisling Centre (028 66 325811).
“When you are struggling with low mood or difficult times in your life it can be hard to know who to turn to,” she explained. “Most people do not realise that they can talk to their GP about their emotional and mental health. Talking to your GP does not always mean being prescribed medication, although for some medication will be necessary and important. Your GP will also be aware of the range of services and supports that are available to you and can make referrals on your behalf.”
Ms Sweeney concluded: “Your mental health is as important as your physical health and should be given the same attention. Just as you would not ignore persistent physical stress or pain you should not ignore mental or emotional stress or pain. It is important to be aware of your feelings. We can all feel low at times but if the low mood persist for example if you have a number of ‘bad’ days every week for a number of weeks or, if you feel you are having more bad days than good days then you need to seek help.”
Posted: 9:16 am August 13, 2016