THE BIGGER PICTURE

It is important that we engage with ‘the bigger picture’, our society, the environment, the culture and systems that influence our lives. At a micro level there is so much we can do to improve our well-being, but on a macro level is enough being done to help support us all in our quest for wellness? Personal responsibility in how our world is formed is vital, but we also want to explore systems change and what role our government, policy, media and marketing are having on our health. We want to look at how wellness can be effectively introduced across our education systems and how workplaces can become healthier and happier places of work. We need to ask questions that haven’t been asked and to seek answers that haven’t been found, so we can all gain a greater understanding of how we can contribute as individuals and as collectives to a society that promotes and encourages well-being on all levels.

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 have in common?

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 in Waterford

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 or face to...

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 Ireland 2016

The Census of the Heart survey will run for 4 weeks from April 24 – May 22 on censusoftheheart.com
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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), at 12:30pm

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.
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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 candidates

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
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Bressie gives powerful speech about the ‘epidemic of this generation’ to the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Health...

Niall Breslin today addressed the Joint Committee on Health and Children about mental health and wellbeing at a meeting of the Oireachtas. Here is his opening statement

How I turned my social media nightmare into a lifeline for others

Growing up, I never thought that I would save a life, mainly because I hated blood, guts and gore. Becoming a doctor clearly wasn’t for me

Anyone’s Brother

Over the past few months, a good friend of mine, Shane, made contact with me regarding an incredibly distressing position himself and his fiancé Cat, and her family found themselves in

Ageing in Ireland

468,000 people in Ireland were aged 65 or over in 2006. By 2041, this figure is set to increase substantially to 1.4 million people. People are living much longer with the advances that have taken place in healthcare

Psychological health and safety at work

If you work in healthcare or social services, it’s time to sit down and face some frightening facts. You are working in the industry that has the most self-reported illnesses in the last 12 months

Time to join the dots rather than tick the box when it comes to mental health services...

If we are to progress our mental health services, we must connect our health and education systems

In this so-called ‘recovery’ where are we going as a country?

After seven bruising years Ireland has emerged from the recession and we are now the fastest growing economy in Europe. We are in a so-called ‘recovery’

The societal impact of cyberbullying

Cyberbullying involves the use of information and communication technologies to support deliberate, repeated, and hostile behaviour by an individual or group

Building resilience in our schools

Resilience - what does it mean? As I see it, it means being able to cope with the ups and downs of daily life. To be able to have a bad day and realise that it is just a bad day and that it too shall pass

Connecting and communicating with our teenagers

As adults we sometimes tend to perceive teenagers problems as less severe than our own. We can see ‘adult’ problems as much more serious and worthy of real worry

Aggression on our roads

Walking around Dublin city centre on any given day can certainly be an interesting sociological journey observing the behaviours of people going about their day

Ireland is breaking free from the stigma that choked our society into silence

Something has changed in Ireland over the last few years. For so long we honoured our global stereotypes as people full of character and good time charm, too afraid to admit a weakness or court failure, which inadvertently led to a damaging internalisation of repressed emotions

Growing Older in Ireland

It is widely reported that the world's population is ageing. The number of older persons (aged 60 years or over) is expected to more than double, from 841 million people in 2013 to more than 2 billion in 2050

Pornography may affect your life more than you think

The Internet has made pornography so easily available that it is almost as difficult to avoid it, as it is easy to find it

Psychologists urge schools to make mental health and wellbeing a priority for pupils

Every school day more than 400,000 young people attend nearly 1,400 post primary schools across the country

How our education system could influence corporate wellness programmes

I recently spoke at one of Ireland’s largest health insurer’s annual conference, VHI, about the importance of developing strategic and effective wellness programmes

With the 2nd highest binge drinking rate in the world, how can we hope to develop a...

In order to ensure we take care of our brains in the holistic sense and ensure it is given the opportunity to work properly, we have to consider what we put into our body

Irish Men – Testing the Waters

Over the last few weeks, I have been travelling around Ireland to promote my book “Me and my mate Jeffrey”, The response has been deeply heart-warming and has diluted any of the reservations I initially had about writing a book about my own struggles with my emotional and mental health

Is social media our friend?

Social media has a lot to offer us. It gives us the opportunity to stay in touch with friends we met on a trip, or maybe with our cousin who is off travelling the world

Human beings are capable of great change

From space, the earth is majestic, inspiring awe and speechless wonder. No political barriers are visible, no borders, no reason why one part should have so much and other parts so little

Real men don’t man up, they open up

Writing that allows us look at our own behaviours with a greater sense of comprehension. The following is such a piece

Possibilities of a better and bolder Ireland

Instead of simply complaining about any perceived lack of leadership we must ourselves be prepared to lead. We live in a new Ireland. We no longer trust our politicians, our bishops or our banks

A look at the portrayal of mental health and violence in the media

There’s been lots in the news lately about mental health and violence – whether it’s Donald Trump spouting that mental health problems and not gun laws are the source of gun crime, or recent reporting around criminal trials and violent incidents

Why activism is good for you

You might be wondering what an article about activism is doing on a site promoting positive mental health and wellbeing

Wellbeing for teaching and learning

The A Lust For Life team are incredibly passionate about the importance of wellbeing being a core tenet in our education system on all levels

The current approach to wellbeing in our schools is hit-and-miss and has to change

How is it that after 13 years of education, most young people graduate knowing more about geography and maths than they do about health, happiness and navigating the challenges of life?

The power of the family in building powerful communities

If we want to build strong connected communities then we need to begin by nurturing strong and connected families. The inherent trust that what “goes around” in a community will “come around” in a community is fostered first in the trust that develops between a child and its parents.

The real world is not for sale

Every day we are told what the real world is, and it is always the same thing: some world where every human interaction is capable of being turned to profit, where the laws of competition have replaced the laws of hospitality, where friendship and love are available at a bargain.

The Human Recession

We seem to be constantly bombarded with information on GDP and unemployment statistics as a result of the crippling recession our country just endured

Don’t despair. Do something!

Campaigner Ruairí McKiernan says activism can help create a new you while bringing about a new world

10 tips to help you cope with financial stress

Financial coach and holistic therapist Ann Keenaghan looks at how you can overcome financial stress

The importance of peer to peer social support

Having normalised conversations amongst each other about something they have disguised is a powerful therapy

Do Not Become Part of ‘Generation Anxiety’

If you wish to promote positivity and compassion in your life, practice behaviours that promote these, and stay away from the toxic behaviours and environments