The loss of a Giant

Shock woke us up on Sunday morning.

Instead of rooting out Munster scarves and jerseys and organising lifts in and out of town, my husband and I sat and stared at our phones in shock and disbelief.
And how do you explain to a five-year old that you’re upset because a man you’ve never met has died? How do you understand it yourself?
The ordinary tempo of the family home continued, as it must; after all, he wasn’t my husband, uncle, friend or cousin…
There’s no allowance for grief here.

Except for all of us, perhaps without even knowing it, that’s precisely who Anthony ‘Axel’ Foley had become. He, like others without us noticing, seep into our consciousness, and our lives. Often unspoken, we hold these men and women as personal heroes, as the standards we want to reach, what we want for our children. And when they go, the void that’s left is as shocking to us as it is painful.

The grief in Limerick this week is palpable.

This open pain is at once comforting and upsetting. It hurts to see others hurt, but it helps so very much, to know we are not the only one grieving for this loss, the loss of a stranger we knew so well.

Grief is a process, without efficient timelines or tidy linear progression. There is no correct way to heal. There is no point at which we should be over it by now. The heartfelt responses of his friends and teammates simultaneously speak to shock and anger, bargaining and depression. That it, “didn’t make any sense yesterday… it doesn’t make any sense today” (Keith Wood), echoes in us all. How many of us asked “Why Anthony Foley”, like David Corkery, feeling defeated in the face of such a cruel God?

But the solidarity in Limerick this week was humbling.

So I ask you to continue to be kind to yourself and to the person standing beside you.
Allow your grief to be. To happen. To take its path.

No, We don’t “accept”, in any way, this loss. To accept it would seem to legitimise it and that is certainly not the case. It’s not ok. We are all too shocked and angry, hurt and confused. But, in the past week, Limerick took his lead, shared in his strength and his leadership and unified. Shoulder to shoulder, side by side, we are standing strong for one another, and through tears, We are proud. Munster Proud.
Irish by birth, Munster by the grace of God.

R.I.P Axel.

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Minister to meet constituents to discuss mental health law

Minister to meet constituents to discuss mental health law

11 July 2012

Cork representatives, including Kathleen Lynch, Minister of State with responsibility for Mental Health, will meet constituents to discuss improvements to Ireland’s Mental Health Act later today.

People with personal experience of mental health problems are meeting Minister Lynch, other Cork TDs and Senators to discuss their personal experiences with a view to influencing the Government’s current review of the Act.

Diarmaid Ring, service user activist and member of Amnesty International Ireland’s Expert by Experience Advisory Group said: “We as service users, family members and carers will be bringing our own grassroots experience of the mental health services to the table.

“It is crucial the experiences of service users are heard by those developing mental health law and policy, so they can introduce mental health law in line with the latest human rights standards.

“One of the key things we need to challenge is the current ethos of using mental health law to ‘contain’ and instead champion the ethos of recovery, as outlined in the Government’s mental health policy, A Vision for Change.”

Karol Balfe, Mental Health Campaign Coordinator, Amnesty International Ireland, said: “This is a great opportunity for politicians and policy makers to hear from those directly affected and ensure the changes they propose will really improve the experience for people with mental health problems.

“Today’s meeting is particularly timely as the Government is in the middle of its own review of the 2001 Mental Health Act and last month published its initial report.”

What is Depression?

What is Depression?

There is a difference between depression with a little‘d’ – which we all get – and depression with a big ‘D’. Depression with a little ‘d’ is a natural response to having a bad day or hearing sad news. Depression with a big ‘D’ is when your whole energy and concentration is down and you are struggling to focus. It is a mental health condition which affects a person’s thinking, energy, feelings and behaviour. It’s not just having a bad day!

Symptoms of Depression

Depression has eight main symptoms. If you experience five or more of these symptoms, lasting for a period of two weeks or more, you should speak to a GP or mental health professional. The symptoms of depression are:

• Feeling sad, anxious or bored

• Low energy, feeling tired or fatigued

• Under-sleeping or over-sleeping,waking frequently during the night

• Poor concentration, thinking slowed down

• Loss of interest in hobbies, family or social life

• Low self-esteem and feelings of guilt

• Aches and pains with no physical basis, e.g. chest, head or tummy pain  associated with anxiety or stress

• Loss of interest in living, thinking about death, suicidal thoughts

What causes it?

Depression has a number of possible causes. For some people, it happens because of a traumatic life event such as bereavement, relationship breakdown, financial difficulties or bullying. In other situations, the person may have an inherent tendency towards depression, and such genetic factors can be key in the case of bipolar disorder. This mood disorder involves not just periods of depression, but also periods of elation, where the person’s mood is significantly higher than normal. During these periods, a person may have excessive energy with little need for sleep, may have grandiose ideas and may engage in risk-taking behaviour.

What should I do if I think I am depressed?

The most important thing to do is to speak to a doctor or mental health professional in order to get a correct diagnosis. There are a number of treatments for depression, depending on the cause and severity of symptoms and a professional is best placed to decide which, if any, treatment is most appropriate. Accessing reliable information is also vital.

 Taken from Aware.ie 15th July 2012

Suicide Warning Signs

Article taken from

Suicide Ireland 13th July 2012

 Warning Signs

Information to help you spot the warning signs of depression and suicidal behaviour. We can all make a difference.

What are the warning signs?

These are some of the classic signs that someone you know may be in need of some help. Please watch for the following symptoms…

Talking About Dying

  • any mention of dying, disappearing, jumping, shooting oneself, or other types of self harm.

Recent Loss

 

  • through death, divorce, separation, broken relationship, loss of job, money, status, self-confidence, self-esteem, loss of religious faith, loss of interest in friends, sex, hobbies, activities previously enjoyed

Change in Personality

  • Sad, withdrawn, irritable, anxious, tired, indecisive, apathetic
  • Change in Behaviour
  • Can’t concentrate on school, work, routine tasks
  • Change in Sleep Patterns
  • Insomnia, often with early waking or oversleeping, nightmares
  • Change in Eating Habits
  • Loss of appetite and weight, or overeating
  • Diminished Sexual Interest
  • Impotence, menstrual abnormalities (often missed periods)
  • Fear of losing control
  • Harming self or others
  • Low self-esteem
  • Feeling worthless, shame, overwhelming guilt, self-hatred, “everyone would be better off without me”

Report from RTE News on Suicide stats in Ireland 2011

Reported on RTE News 11th July 2010

 525 suicides, representing 11.4 per 100,000 of the population, were registered in 2011.

The vast majority of those who took their own lives were men.

The figures are contained in the Central Statistics Office Vital Statistics for 2011, which look at the numbers of births, deaths and marriages registered in that year.

The 2011 figures saw a rise in male suicides, which accounted for 84% of all suicide deaths.

Responding to the figures, the Irish Association of Suicidology said international research shows that for every 1% increase in unemployment there is a 0.78% increase in the rate of suicide.

It said that given the impact the economic downturn had had, especially on young males, it was not surprising that men were so at risk to suicide.

However, the association said that there is always help available to anyone suffering emotional distress or feeling suicidal, including through the samaritans or their family GP.

490 suicides were registered in Ireland in 2010.

Dan Neville TD, President of the Irish Association of Suicidology, said he was “extremely concerned” by the increase in the number of deaths by suicide.

Mr Neville said the figures were not a surprise because there was anecdotal evidence of an increase. He said the true figure was closer to 600 when “undetermined” deaths were taken into account.

He said the figure reflected the neglect of suicide prevention for decades, and the economic recession, which impacts on the levels of depression, anxiety and despair.

Mr Neville said that he has been assured that €35m allocated to the development of mental health services was safe from cutbacks.

He said in the past, the HSE did hive off money allocated to mental health for other services, and there must be vigilance that this doesn’t happen again.

He called for the urgent appointments of a Director of Mental Health Services, and a new director of the National Suicide Prevention Office.

“They are key positions that there should be no delay in the appointment of,” he said.

“Particularly the Director of Mental Health Services. This is a new position, promised by the government, by Dr Reilly. But it’s something we have been looking at for years.”

Postpartum depression

Postpartum depression (PPD), also called postnatal depression, is a form of clinical depression which can affect women, and less frequently men, typically after childbirth.

tudies report prevalence rates among women from 5% to 25%, but methodological differences among the studies make the actual prevalence rate unclear. Among men, in particular new fathers, the incidence of postpartum depression has been estimated to be between 1.2% and 25.5%.[1] Postpartum depression occurs in women after they have carried a child. Symptoms include sadness, fatigue, changes in sleeping and eating patterns, reduced libido, crying episodes, anxiety, and irritability. Although a number of risk factors have been identified, the causes of PPD are not well understood. Many women recover with a treatment consisting of a support group or counselling.

 

 

What is Mental Health

Mental health describes a level of psychological well-being, or an absence of a mental disorder.[1][2] From the perspective of ‘positive psychology‘ or ‘holism‘, mental health may include an individual’s ability to enjoy life, and create a balance between life activities and efforts to achieve psychological resilience.[1] Mental health can also be defined as an expression of emotions, and as signifying a successful adaptation to a range of demands.

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