Ireland has undergone a revolution in attitudes towards mental health in recent years and helping lead the charge has been St Patrick’s Mental Health Services, which devised the Walk in My Shoes to promote awareness.
“I think that developing a culture of positive emotional health is becoming one of the most important priorities,” Paul Gilligan, CEO of St Patrick’s Mental Health Services said.
St Pat’s is located in Dublin and is considered a pioneer in Ireland in mental health and in combating the stigma traditionally associated with it.
“We’ve got to talk about mental health,” the Walk in My Shoes radio station proclaims, “it can get better.”
Since 2012 Walk in My Shoes has been spreading awareness with their in-house radio station, a short film competition, resources for school children and a #MindYourSelfie social media campaign.
The #MindYourSelfie campaign involved a series of videos that help children practice mindfulness and other useful exercises that help them develop mental resilience.
Other videos aim to combat mental illnesses such as eating disorders, addiction and depression – the last of which is particularly common in Ireland and is thought to affect one in every ten people living there.
The organization hopes that with its particular focus on schoolchildren that further strides can me made.
Writing in the foreword for their schools’ newsletter, their CEO Paul Gilligan says, “Research the world over indicates that, next to family life, experiences in school have the biggest impact on a child’s emotional well being. This is why schools have become a primary focus for the promotion of positive mental health.”