THE BIGGER PICTURE

Breaking the codes of disconnection – One teacher’s strategy of trying to prevent school...

Following the latest school shooting in Florida there has been lots of discussion on how authorities can pick up

Take part in Mental Health Ireland’s Smiley Pancake Campaign today!

Every time you smile you are fighting off stress and anxiety and boosting your mood. That’s why Mental Health Ireland is asking everyone to make their pancake smile today

How incorporating #SoundEffect in our school helped our wellbeing culture to thrive

Wooden chairs, drab uniforms, thick books full of theory and tough-as-nails teachers

‘Grief is a hell of a price to pay for love’ – RTÉ’s Brian...

In a new programme on RTE Radio 1 on December 29th, at 4pm, RTÉ broadcaster Brian O’Connell (@oconnellbrian) reflects on the loss of his close friend, musician Brian Carey

Time to Soar – Why being a teenager is one of the most challenging...

Megan Byrne is a Facilitator in Training with The Soar Foundation which is a collective movement which believes that there is greatness within all young people

Launch of report by Taskforce on Youth Mental Health a failed opportunity

Mental Health Reform, the national coalition on mental health, has today called the launch of the report by the Taskforce on Youth Mental Health a failed opportunity

We must have conscious conversations with our young people on sexual violence in the...

There is a sea change happening of late. Women have been stepping forward and taking up well deserved space

Politicians must earn trust if the youth majority are ever going to engage with...

Sitting on my flight home from Brussels after addressing the President of the European Parliament Antonio Tajani on behalf of A Lust for Life

The Volunteers – ‘Why are people allowed to be wounded everywhere except their mind?’

I lost five of my students to suicide in my first five years of teaching. I am marked. Darkened, lessened, wounded and numbed

The Volunteers – ‘I’ve learned that every day has to be lived to the...

I am very grateful to have been a part of an extremely powerful project ‘The Volunteers’ formulated by the knowledgeable and passionate Joe Caslin

The Volunteers – ‘In troubled times support can come from unexpected places’

I'll always remember laying upside-down, half hanging off my bed staring up at the ceiling in my private room (don’t get any ideas of elitism here, I was put in a room by myself because I was too disruptive on the ward)

Mental Health Reform acknowledges additional commitment of funding for mental health services in 2019

Mental Health Reform today acknowledged receipt of a letter committing to the full €105M

Government fails to deliver promised funding for mental health in budget 2018

Mental Health Reform, the national coalition on mental health, has today expressed dismay that the Government will allocate just €15M of additional funding

Why mental health needs investment in Budget 2018

New information highlighted in the Dáil in recent days shows just how bad things are in our mental health services: 2,908 children and adolescents waiting for a first appointment

Man’s game: Challenging masculine myths in sport and life

Sport has long served as an arena for political and social debate so it has been no surprise that football of both the American and European codes

All politics and no policy implementation: it’s time to harness the power of the...

It’s been just over a year since I returned to the shores of the emerald isle after three years living and working abroad. A card-carrying member of generation emigration

How being in recovery helped me to succeed in business

9 years ago I was not in a good place. I was feeling very lonely, tired and my confidence was at an all-time low. I had done the travelling bit when I was younger, my partying etc

Political snakes and ladders approach to mental health must end

Once again we find ourselves in a place where due to a change of leadership in our governing party Fine Gael, there is the inevitable yet totally destabilising cabinet reshuffle

Report highlights need for homeless people to have 24/7 access to mental health services

Mental Health Reform and the Dublin Simon Community have just launched a joint research report

THE VOLUNTEERS – We will let no life be worth less

Street artist Joe Caslin, known for his large-scale black and white drawings, has released ‘The Volunteers’, a powerful new piece of public art in Front Square of Trinity College

Drug abuse is a symptom of society’s failings – Stop blaming and shaming the...

Most if not all my volunteerism, activism, career in addiction and now my political work has been underpinned by my lived experiences and drug use

Drug addiction is so powerful that people risk losing everything – We need to...

If I am to be brutally honest about what it was that drove me to be so public about my addiction

Editor’s reflection: In a society that is ill we must reclaim our power to...

A personal reflection from the Editor of A Lust for Life. It was around this time two years ago that I first met with Bressie in a café in Dublin

The power of story to nudge humanity forward to greater freedom

The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion - Albert Camus

Young Social Innovators shine a light on mental illness

Eoghan and Orlaigh are Transition Year students from Largy College in Clones Co. Monaghan and are members of the Young Social Innovators (YSI) team

From distress to disorder: diagnosing mental health

A colleague remarked to me recently that she was struck by the number of people getting in touch with her to talk about and discuss their mental distress

Is school preparing our children for a world that no longer exists?

Meet Michelle, currently studying for the leaving certificate. Unlike her parents, she does not want to own a piece of the world - she merely wants to visit it

Man walks into bar, orders an addictive depressant, becomes addicted and depressed

No joke. There’s no doubt about it, living alcohol free in Ireland is a radical move, particularly for an Irish person

We travelled 900km across Ireland in one day to speak to people about mental...

Ahead of running a fundraising campaign to raise €1m for mental health over the May Bank Holiday Weekend

Keep your child safe online in the age of SimiSimi

SimiSimi is the latest app to alarm parents, and make many feel once again ‘on the back foot’ when it comes to keeping young people safe online

National Workplace Wellbeing Day – It’s time for companies to get moving

As a nation, we all know that we need to get healthier and there is no better place to start than in the workplace

Is technology your master or servant?

In order to ensure mental well-being, it is essential to examine the link between the epidemics of anxiety and depression and dependency on smartphones, social media and internet use

We need to get rid of the idea of being a burden – Here’s...

The idea of being a burden is massively detrimental to individual and collective mental health. Feeling like we don’t want to bother people

GMIT students sign up for first ever triathlon as part of new mental health...

Six GMIT students who are not actively involved in sport or daily exercise have signed up to take part in Lough Cutra Castle Triathlon in May as part of a major campaign to boost student's mental health and wellbeing through sport

Domestic abuse – How big a problem?

Scared and frightened, suffering a loss of confidence and self-esteem, desperately needing support and unable to ask for help. Maybe some of the feelings and thoughts that are associated with people who experience domestic abuse

17 year old creates app to help teenagers combat social anxiety and stress

SAR is an app which will help people, especially in the teen age group combat social anxiety and stress

Are modern political systems the Achilles heel of effective mental health strategies?

On a recent prime time radio talk show I heard a rather prominent Irish politician declare that “the main objective of politics is to win seats”, initiating a rather ungentlemanly type reaction from me

Are we addicted to jeopardy?

I have been working within the frenetic and often abstruse world of media in varying different guises over the last ten years or so

How our society and culture rewards Narcissists

Narcissus is a figure in Greek Mythology known for being self obsessed with his beauty. His vanity caused him to grow disdainful of other people

Systems Change – Time for an evolution of our Mental Health system

One aspect of my training as a Systemic Psychotherapist was the training I got and the awareness I developed about how systems operate. Systems are everywhere

Free your mind from social media

Social media does little to no favours for our mental well-being. Above all, this is what living two months without it has taught me

We’re Calling on the Government to Make Community Mental Health Care Available 24/7

A Lust for Life, Mental Health Reform, Future Voices and Uplift today launched a campaign calling for the delivery of holistic 24/7 community based mental health services across Ireland

How fear makes children of us all

I’ve written recently on A Lust for Life about defence mechanisms that help us cope with stressful situations that sometimes effect or even seem to “control” our behaviour

Social Anxiety Disorder – The mental prison you can escape from

It is a strange experience in Ireland currently to see mental health awareness and stories being so common within every communication channel from Facebook to coffee mornings for suicide awareness, etc

Teachers: Valuing and recognising your role as essential to your well-being

I recently read a post on the very popular teacher Facebook page ‘Voice for Teachers’ that was written by a teacher who felt the need to write a letter to the Department of Education about what her actual role was as a teacher

What has the American obsession with firearm ownership and the Irish obsession with alcohol...

I wish to state from the onset that in my opinion both obsessions are dysfunctional and highly damaging to their respective societies

Joe Caslin and A Lust for Life unite to unveil giant mental health artwork...

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireann na daoine - We live protected under each other’s shadow. I clearly remember that Friday afternoon five years ago

The green waiting room

Let me start with a disclaimer. This article was tough to write and is not easy to read so I've mismatched it with a very happy picture of myself not looking back in anger at all my experiences of the mental health system in Ireland and in London

A deeper look into the heart of Ireland: Census of the heart findings

Census of the Heart is one of those ideas that drops into your world from the great beyond and works its magic until you give your whole heart to it

Leaving Cert students: You are so much more than your point’s total

It’s that time of year again – young people throughout Ireland found out this week if they have gotten their top college choice. It’s an odd time for young people, for many reasons

Leaving Cert Results: How do we define success?

Leaving Cert results day is an emotional day for the whole country. It is a day which affects everyone - not just those receiving their results, but all their family members, teachers, carers and friends too

Empathy: Changing the narrative on global politics

It sometimes feels that the world is a pretty dismal place to be living in right now. The past few months where we as global citizens have beared witness to so much unspeakable suffering borne out of hatred, seems to be unending

Understanding our unconscious desire to consume luxury goods

For the past few weeks I have been saving up for a new set of celebrity endorsed headphones and when that (ever delayed) pay check came in I finally bought them. I had told myself that I would stop spending money on “luxuries” as soon as I bought them

State of Emergency – on the need for revolution in 2016

Take a stroll through the streets of Dublin at the moment and there is a sense that you are walking in both the present and the past

Help, is anybody listening?

Four years ago, I faced the tragedy facing so many families in Ireland today, when suicide came to our front door

Meet the Self-Esteem Team

Last week I wrote about the flaws in our education system which mean more and more young people are falling prey to poor mental health

Future of teenage mental health depends on finding out WHY

1 in 3 young people in Ireland will experience some type of mental disorder by the age of 13. By the age of 24 this startling statistic increases to 1 in 2

Want to change the spiralling rates of mental illness? Start in schools

Last time I wrote for A Lust for Life about the link between poverty and poor mental health. However, it’s widely acknowledged that mental illness affects people from a variety of socio-economic backgrounds

More young people are seeking mental health support online, rather than over the phone...

ReachOut’s five year review (2011-2015) offers us an insight into the growing numbers of young people seeking support and how they are doing it

Are austerity measures breaking our minds?

I live in West London, which isn’t nearly as posh as it sounds – Like most districts in the capital mine has its ‘yummy mummy’ streets, full of artisan café’s and organic pilates studios, existing practically nose-to-nose with the pound and betting shops that surround the local estates

J1 – Know your rights handbook

Thousands of Irish students travel to the United States each year to have one of the most memorable summers of their lives. However, working and living in a different country is a stressful time for anyone

Talk therapy and support groups must be resourced and made more accessible

As a See Change Ambassador, I know the importance of Green Ribbon Month. I know that by wearing a simple green ribbon, it can let people know you are part of the fight against the stigma of mental illnesses

Let’s highlight our collective empathy, not magnify the toxic minority

I wanted to let the dust settle regarding the online reaction to Sinéad O' Connor’s ongoing battle with her mental health, but felt compelled to write. Much has been made of this online reaction due to the fact that a small minority decided to use the distressing situation of Sinéad reportedly going missing in Chicago

Mental Health: Terms and conditions apply

A call for cohesion amid the confusion within the movement for Mental Health reform...I heard a voice. It broke the night. Lost in its sound was a sufferer’s story, a tale too young to swim with such frightening cadence, a tale too painful to swim at all

What price tag does this Government put on a human life?

As a mother of a son with a serious mental illness in Ireland I have to ask the question, ‘What price tag does this Government put on a human life?’

Does a Masters of Pharmacy degree prepare you for helping suicidal patients?

One Monday morning there was a queue at the counter. I approached a young man in the line and asked, ‘Can I help you?’ His eyes started to well up so I suggested he meet me in the consultation room

An open letter to 50 Cent from young Irish Autism campaigner

After a very positive few days unveiling our YouthHub and seeing so many of our Young Leaders begin to find their voice but also be listened to – it was very frustrating for us to read about 50 Cent’s behaviour in Cincinnati airport yesterday

Census of the Heart – Tell us how it feels to be alive in...

The Census of the Heart survey will run for 4 weeks from April 24 – May 22 on censusoftheheart.com
video

Being labelled with depression in a country that doesn’t care

I'm a very happy content person at the moment because I've made good decisions and worked hard to be where I'm at right now, but I wasn't always. I wasn’t ready to post this. I don’t think anyone ever is

We are a reason: It’s time for real leadership on Ireland’s mental health crisis

It has been just over 24 hours since I posted a screen grab picture of our Dáil’s statements on mental health services in Ireland, which illustrated it was attended rather sparsely by our elected ministers and political representatives

Mental health can’t wait – Join us for demo at the Dáil tomorrow (Thursday),...

Demo: Together with the Union of Students in Ireland Mental Health Reform is holding a national demonstration outside the Kildare St entrance to the Dáil at 12.30 pm tomorrow (Thursday April 28th) #IAmAReason.
video

A New Ireland Rising – It’s time to be our own heroes

Check out A New Ireland Rising, a very special 7 minute video by A Lust For Life team member Ruairí McKiernan. The video marks 100 years since the 1916 Rising and is a powerful call to action for us all to 'be our own heroes'

My appeal to Ireland after devastation of losing my twin brother

Our drinking habits need to change. And fast. First of all let me start by telling you about myself. I am a regular 20 year old who has often gone out for days in a row, don’t remember getting home, the usual story with most young people in our generation

Youth tackle their mental health with pioneering new approach

If our generation are to change how we view and approach mental health, then we need to take our own initiative in doing so

Rewriting the story of mental health services in Ireland

People bring their own unique story to therapy but for many there is a common thread – the roadblocks in trying to get the help once they feel they can ask for it

How can we create better mental health policies? Ask the people!

Are we doing enough to support mental health in Ireland? There is certainly a growing national openness around issues of mental health and mental ill health. However, this growing openness does not appear to extend to our government and many other leading politicians

The dangers of the dieting industry

I turn 30 this year and I am really excited about it. My twenties were years of great fun, being lucky enough to be carefree, travel, learn and have experiences and memories that I will forever treasure

Wellbeing Resilience Action Plan aka WRAP® for Schools

My mission is to ensure WRAP® is incorporated into the school curriculum as part of a wider movement to improve Ireland's understanding and control of mental health

Understanding the Death of Caoilte Ó Broin

On December 30th my friend Caoilte Ó Broin was reported missing. On January 2nd Caoilte’s body was found in the River Liffey

Equality is the best therapy

If someone asks “how are things?”, and you knew they really wanted to know, what would you say? You might tell them about how you felt physically; what’s happening for you emotionally; or at work; or whether or not your new apartment is working out

9 reasons why giving up alcohol is good for business and life

Two years ago I set myself a challenge, the ultimate social challenge - one year without alcohol. As a broker in the city of London, most people thought this an impossible task and others considered it terrible for business

Thinking ahead for Children’s Mental Health: An Irish practitioner’s view from Canada

Can insights based on experience gained abroad offer any practical indications of the benefits to increasing funding for children’s mental health in Ireland?

Redefining ‘Man Up’ – Young men, a call to arms

By channelling our inherent masculine traits of protection and responsibility towards mental health and wellbeing, we can begin to redefine the meaning of ‘man up’ and positively benefit the lives of ourselves, our friends and our family

Mindful alcohol consumption

My first recollection of alcohol was as a child having a thimble of sherry at my parent’s party and dancing around the sitting room floor to the great amusement of the adults, who didn’t realise what I had done

‘Irish young people’s confidence in downward spiral’ says new research

A new study of 15 to 24 year olds, released by Electric Ireland, reveals 4 in 5 young people feel the Irish public have a negative view of them with the vast majority (71%) citing the media as the reason for this misrepresentation

It’s okay not to be okay? Sure. With a huge caveat

I’m 30(ish), married, and have two kids and two dogs. I work, I have good friends who understand me, and a really supportive family. On paper all good, right? But, I also have borderline personality disorder (bpd) that occasionally morphs into depression, so life can be a touch unpredictable here

Lisa’s Light – Suicide prevention campaign lighting up Limerick’s bridges

I’ll start at the beginning, December 2014 to be exact. I was in 6th Year in Ardscoil Mhuire Corbally and heading out to a S.V.P French grind. I was in the car with my mam, Michelle when I told her I had a dream about my cousin Lisa, who we lost 5 years ago to suicide

The power is in your hands – 3 mental health questions to ask election...

Below are 3 simple questions you can ask election candidates over the coming weeks. Do not let them insult your intelligence with vague and non-committal type answers. These are promises, once made that cannot be broken

Bressie: Grill politicians meaningfully to achieve change

Mental health services for the country's youth are hugely under-resourced, writes Niall Breslin, but pre-election time is a real opportunity to drive change

Why taking a break from alcohol will be the best decision you ever made

A year ago, I awoke and grumbled the immortal words ‘Never again!’ Only this time I meant it (although I had really ‘meant it’ at least 500 times before). In fact, most Saturdays, Sundays, Thursdays, Fridays – oh, and the odd Tuesday – started and ended this way