Connect both mental and physical health resilience

Clr. Mary Sweeney (Cathaoirleach , Laois County Council ) ,  Mary Kennedy ( R.T.E. ) and Finola Colgan ( Mental Health Ireland )  at the launch of the Laois Connects Programme at Dunamaise Arts Centre , Portlaoise , on Wednesday last .                Photo: Michael Scully - no reproduction fee .
There is an Indian proverb that says “that everyone is a house with four rooms, a physical, a mental, an emotional and a spiritual. Most of us tend to live in one room most of the time but, unless we go into every room every day, even if only to keep it aired, we are not a complete person”.

There is an Indian proverb that says “that everyone is a house with four rooms, a physical, a mental, an emotional and a spiritual. Most of us tend to live in one room most of the time but, unless we go into every room every day, even if only to keep it aired, we are not a complete person”.

It is the connection between all these metaphorical rooms that sustains good mental health. Two important dimensions of our every day health is our physical and mental health. Most people are aware that anxiety, depression, and stress can impact seriously on their mental health if not correctly managed.

However, people often do not associate their mental health with their physical health and realise that they are strongly connected. The connection is a two way process: mental health conditions may negatively affect a person’s physical health. For example anxiety and stress can be associated with headaches, stomach ulcers and hypertension. People who experience chronic anxiety can be at greater risk of developing heart disease.

Similarly, physical illness may have a negative impact on a person’s mental health. People with chronic illness are vulnerable to anxiety, depression and stress. This awareness implies a strong connection between body and mind. Leading a healthy lifestyle can have a positive impact on mental and physical health. Making healthy choices such as being physically active, eating healthy foods, not smoking, etc may prevent many physical and mental health conditions.

Mental Health Ireland, as a member of the Laois Connects Collaborative, has developed workshops to promote this connection to promote the importance of resilience to mental health. Through partnering with agencies such as the Laois Partnership Company and the HSE Triogue Centre, specially designed workshops have been developed to promote positive mental.

Storm Powell of the Mental Health Collaborative Group said Laois week provides an excellent opportunity to concentrate and promote a positive understanding of mental health right. Finola Colgan of Mental Health Ireland stated that working closely with the Laois Partnership Company is an extension of ongoing joint work to promote mental health.

During Laois Connects week tailored programmes will take place for specific groups such as family carers, families coping with mental illness in the family and older people.

Building resilience is a key message in Mental Health Ireland’s programmes for the week. When something goes wrong is the tendency to bounce back or fall apart?

Resilience can help a person rebound from setbacks, disappointments or challenge, such as a job loss, an illness, or the death of a loved one. When a person lack resilience, they may dwell on problems, experience feelings of being overwhelmed or turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms, such as substance abuse.

Resilience offers protection from various mental health conditions, such as depression and anxiety and can help offset factors that increase the risk of mental health conditions, such as lack of social support or being bullied.

For more see www, mentalhealthireland.ie and www.aisling.ie.