If you call LGBT Ireland’s National Helpline on freephone 1800 929 539, our volunteers are trained to listen to you and provide you with support. They won’t tell you what to do but if you wish they can signpost you to mental health support services.
Many people aren’t sure what the term mental health means and only think of mental illness when they hear the term. But mental health is more to do with our overall sense of well-being and how we feel we are getting on in our lives, as well as how we feel about ourselves and those around us. It is normal to feel worried or down at times and one in four people will experience a major mental health problem at some time in their life. So if you are concerned about your mental health you are not alone. Mental health problems like anxiety and depression are relatively common and with the right help and support most people recover fully and get back to living their lives the way they want.
‘Good mental health’ means a few different things:
- You’re able to cope with the normal demands of life
- You feel comfortable in your own skin
- You can get on with others
- You have a good attitude to life
- You feel able for your work or studies
- You’re able to make a contribution to your community
Your mental health is an important part of you; it’s an important part of everyone. It’s about how we see ourselves and those around us – our family, our friends, classmates and colleague – people we see every day. When our mental health is good we can enjoy day to day life, we feel good about ourselves and we can get the best out of things. Good mental health also helps us deal with problems and tough times in our lives. Negative life experiences can be stressful and this stress can affect our mental health. Certain experiences, like homophobia and transphobia, can lead to additional stress for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people that can also have a negative impact on their mental health.
Despite the progress in Irish society in recent years, LGBT people still can experience a significant degree of prejudice and harassment and this can lead to poor mental health and well-being. LGBT people of all ages can still experience difficulties ‘coming out’ such as fear of rejection. They can also experience hostile attitudes and behaviour in school, in the workplace, when accessing services and in their local areas, all of which can have a detrimental impact on their mental health and well-being. To help people deal with this, LGBT people need support, which is available from helplines, LGBT organisations and mainstream support services. The booklet Look After Yourself, Look After Your Mental Health – Information for LGBT People, offers guidance on how LGBT people can mind their mental health and where they can get support. The key message of the booklet is that we all need support and it is perfectly normal to ask for help when you need it. Click here to download a copy of this booklet.
Mental Health Support Services – Help Is Out There
The services listed below have a lot of experience in helping people to overcome their problems. If you would like to talk to someone in confidence, they can help. Please note: this is not a complete list of support services. Your local HSE Health Office will be able to provide a more detailed guide to support services available in your area. Call 1850 24 1850 or log onto www.hse.ie for contact details. Remember that your GP is an option for any mental health questions or concerns you might have.
Mental Health Crisis?
If you, or someone you know, is in crisis now and need someone to talk to outside of our LGBT Helpline opening times please do one of the following:
- Contact your local doctor, listed under ‘General Practitioners’ in the Golden Pages or visit www.icgp.ie
- Go to, or contact, the Accident and Emergency Department of your nearest general hospital
- Contact the emergency services by calling 999 or 112
- Freephone the Samaritans on 116 123 (Republic of Ireland) or 08457 909 090 (Northern Ireland)
Disclaimer The information contained within the links on this page are provided to give you access to additional mental health and support information. However, the information may be from a country other than Ireland so please check with your GP or local HSE service for the Irish context as LGBT Ireland cannot accept responsibility for information/content on external sites.