First founded in 2015, A Lust for Life has reached millions of people online throughout Ireland and worldwide, while welcoming over 14,000 people all throughout Ireland to their national events.
October 9 – 14 marks Mental Health Awareness Week in Ireland and so, over the coming days, IrishCentral will be highlighting various groups doing extraordinary work in Ireland and Irish America, ending stigma and offering crucial help and resources.
One such group is the remarkable “A Lust for Life,” a national well-being movement transforming how the Irish talk about and treat mental health.
With a vision for a world in which “the well-being of humanity" is the headline, the national A Lust for Life movement's role is to support and empower people to take care of their own minds. While hoping to influence change over the current societal and cultural norms around mental health in Ireland, the movement also aims to change the societal infrastructure of the country so that people will always be caught when they fall.
Founded in October 2015, A Lust for Life has reached millions of people online throughout Ireland and worldwide over the past two years through their website and campaigns and has welcomed over 14,000 people all across Ireland to their national events.
“Why do we do what we do?” ask the A Lust for Life team.
“Because we’ve had hard times too – the same as everyone else will have at some stage in their life on this planet, and we know it is possible to come through these times in an empowered way with the right information, support, and systems in place.
“We’ve also had happy times in our lives and we know we can build on these times, continually cultivating resilience, continually integrating new ways to take care of ourselves, empowering ourselves, so we can thrive.
“We passionately care about the welfare, the hearts, and minds of people in our society. We live and breathe it and we are deeply committed to our work.”
Working with the Irish media to change the narrative surrounding mental health in Ireland, A Lust for Life also collaborates with other groups, organizations, charities, key influencers, and government to focus on solutions and to connect with the public, most recently teaming up with Pieta House for the fantastic #SoundEffect campaign.
For those unfamiliar with the Irish phrase “to be sound,” it can best be summed up as a description of a person or an act that is either kind, caring, thoughtful, and selfless, or generally all of the above and more. The campaign's goal is to share the wave of positive stories that the Irish public has of people being sound to their fellow human being, emphasizing the importance of being kind to ourselves and to each other.
In marking Mental Health Awareness Week, A Lust for Life has kindly allowed us to republish an article from their co-founder Niall Breslin that explains the motivation behind the movement and the impact it is having in Ireland.
To find out more about the A Lust for Life movement and to see how you can get involved, visit their website.
The reason behind A Lust for Life, written by Niall Breslin
I spent almost 50% of my time on this earth disguising, ignoring and waging war against my mind, which at times seemed hell-bent on destroying every relationship, career, and passion that I pursued.
I grew up in a country where a person’s emotional and mental well-being was rarely discussed and, if it was, it was in muted and hushed tones, silenced by the stigma that has torn apart families and homes throughout Ireland and beyond.
This stigma made it unexplainably difficult to seek the help and support that I no doubt needed and that would have allowed me to cope and manage my mental health illness. That stigma is slowly eroding and its vice grip clasp is loosening in society.
Repressed emotions and internalized pain are gradually being replaced by the normalization of the conversation surrounding the subject, and people are now willing to look for more effective ways to cope and improve their holistic wellness. People are looking to relate to other people’s stories that resonate with their own.
The evidence of peer to peer social support is becoming more and more apparent in society as schools, colleges, and workplaces invest in the education and awareness of well-being. People are beginning to recognize that investing in their wellness from a rounded perspective – body, mind, spirit and the external environments we live within – can benefit all aspects of their lives, from professional, to private, to their passions.
Businesses are recognizing that employee welfare is not only a moral requirement but also an economic and financial one. Schools are recognizing that they can highlight more effective coping strategies for their pupils. People with or without emotional well-being issues are seeing that investment in their mental and physical fitness has profound positive effects on their overall wellness.
People are seeing their relationships with loved ones strengthening, while others recognize the support, compassion, and empathy that is out there for those that require a shoulder to lean on.
I want this website to be the go-to platform to all of you looking to improve your holistic wellness. I want it to help educate people on how the mind and body can be made more resilient and able to cope with our sometimes difficult, frightening but often wonderful world, using accessible and practical language, tips, suggestions, and programs, allowing people to explore the most effective methods for them to improve their lives.
I want the site to be a resource for those of you looking to dive deep inwards, exploring aspects of soul, however, that might resonate with you, as well looking outwards at the bigger picture, our society, the systems and environments we operate within.
I want to highlight the inspiring, harrowing and empowering stories of people who had to have had to invest courageously in themselves as well as showcasing positive solutions that are happening every single day throughout this country.
We hope you like it.
Written by Niall Breslin, Co-Founder of A Lust for Life.