Operation Transformation psychologist Dr Eddie Murphy from Portarlington on the small changes that make a big difference to our mental health.

'Men are notoriously poor at reaching out,' Dr Eddie
To achieve emotional and mental health its the little things that really matter!

To achieve emotional and mental health its the little things that really matter!

When a person comes into my therapy room they are are either

- seeking - the individual has a difficulty and wants to work towards a solution; or

- browsing - visiting the therapy room because someone else thought they could do with help (generally mother or wife), or they have not fully committed to change. This is ok. Some are ready for action, others need to think about it.

As humans we just don’t like change. When it comes to emotional distress I liken it to a ‘stone in the shoe’’. Many people put up with the stone rather than confronting their fears or mustering their energies to remove it.

When it comes to your mental health, making changes and doing the little things takes effort but the rewards are worthwhile.

In Ireland tragically ten people lose their lives to suicide every week. Underlying issues may include mental health problems, relationships, unemployment, alcohol or economic factors.

Little changes can help stop distress spiralling out of control.

We to prioritise our emotional and mental health as much as our physical health. As you walk and drive around you see people running, walking, jogging and cycling, these activities are very important. Yet when it comes to your mental fitness, what exercises do you take? Its time to think about prevention and resilience building, your ability to bounce back from the ups and downs of everyday life.

We all experience dips in our mental health. How do you manage emotional dips or times of distress?

What can I do to manage my emotional health?

First of all, take control of your mental health, you are not a prisoner of it. You can develop new skills to build and protect yourself.

Drink less alcohol - Drink less and great nights become great mornings

Stay in touch - If a friend seems distant catch up with them

Eat healthily - Boost Your mind with healthy food.

Do things with others - Lending an ear is lending a hand.

Sleep well - 8 hours sleep make the other 16 easier.

Do things with others - Add friends to your tea.

Talk to others - problems feel smaller when you share.

Keep Active - The more you move the better your mood

Where can I go for services and support?

If you are concerned about someone you will need to know where you can go. Traditionally the GP was the first professional port of call. Your GP is central to your health. Nevertheless in the first instance most people go to family or friends.

Men are notoriously poor at reaching out. This I know because often their wives, girlfriends or mothers make their appointments for them. Too often there is a belief that talking about your emotions is a sign of weakness , whereas its a sign of strength.

However not all people seek information through their GP or friends, nowadays people are accessing information online.

Check out www.yourmentalhealth.ie which has all the information on mental health services HSE and Partners agencies in one place. Remember the phrase ‘learn one new thing each day’, for today I invite you to learn The Samaritans phone number 116 123.

This is a 24 hour number available 365 days per year where emotional support is accessible.

Finally I invite you to think about little things that can do to help your emotional health. Make one change today and teach someone in your life these skills.