Welcome to our blog

More info & articles and tips from the experts...

The Runway of Life – Tips for well-being

It may sound like an exaggeration, but from my own experience I can say that most ex-service users can have a very good quality of life. I have learnt from my many stays in St. Patrick’s, that there is life after hospitalisation, and that hope abounds for virtually...

read more

Talking to Children about Suicide

Why “silence and secrecy” only increase the pain of bereavement by suicide. Childhood is meant to be a happy time, a protected time, but for some children (especially those prematurely exposed to death as a result of a suicide in their family or community)...

read more

Moving On Up

I may have been born in November but it seems October has quickly become one of my favourite months of the year as the annual pop-up radio station Walk in My Shoes Radio returned for its fifth time. Walk in My Shoes Radio broadcasted live from St....

read more

Mental health survey reveals extent and effects of stigma.

Ahead of World Suicide Prevention Day, St Patrick’s Mental Health Services has revealed that Irish attitudes to mental health difficulties are still fraught with stigma and negativity. St Patrick’s Mental Health Services’ annual attitude survey, which questioned a...

read more

International Youth Day 2017

International Youth Day is being held around the world on the 12th August. It is 28 years since it was first set up by the United Nations to celebrate young peoples’ views, initiatives, and efforts in trying to make the world a better place. This year’s theme is “The...

read more

A Diagnosis of Schizophrenia but Still Just Me

Having a psychotic illness has impacted every single part of my life in some way or another. Although more children are now being diagnosed with and treated for Schizophrenia, it is considered to be rare in childhood. When I was a child, it was pretty much unheard of....

read more

The Tsunami Effect

You don’t see a tsunami far out at sea What is Psychosis? This is what it means to me and here is my personal journey. It is Saturday morning, June 3rd 2006. I am looking forward to attending a friend’s wedding with my wife at the time. It is a welcome distraction...

read more

What is psychosis, what are the stages and who is at risk?

Understanding the misunderstood Psychosis is a condition of fear. For some it starts with a feeling of sensory overload. For others, the mind becomes an unsafe place where everyday worries become plausible fears. Getting the best help available for a loved one often...

read more

Mental health needs and work – what are your rights?

I’m taking today and tomorrow to focus on my mental health. Hopefully I’ll be back next week refreshed and back to 100% So wrote Madalyn Parker, a web developer in America, in a work email to colleagues in June. Her email, and her boss’s positive response hailing her...

read more

A Pebble in the Pond

Addiction is not just suffered by those going through it. It is also suffered by those who see their family members or loved ones going through it. Like a pebble being dropped into a pond the effects of someone with an addiction sends ripples of worry, concern, abuse...

read more

The story that lives…. 20 years on

Anyone who knows me will know that my passions include rugby, technology and Harry Potter. I was introduced to these books when I was working the night shift in a Children’s Mental Health Unit in London almost 20 years ago. I remember explaining to my nursing...

read more

Stigma and Substance Use Disorders

For centuries people believed that substance abuse was a moral problem, that a person made the choice to continue using a particular substance. It was believed that such a person had weak willpower and low moral strength, the blame was exclusively with them. This...

read more

The brain and diet. Carbohydrates.

Image courtesy of Safefood.eu Brain function is vital for existence. We all need to feed ours brain regularly with the right mix for it to work properly & to feel mentally well. The human brain uses up to 20% of the energy used by the entire human body which is more...

read more

5 common exam season issues and how to deal with them

Exam season arrives with the added baggage of stress and anxiety and for many parents and students this can be overwhelming. So, in preparation for this year’s Leaving and Junior Certificate exams, St Patrick’s Mental Health Services is providing advice on how to stay...

read more

Dealing with the emotional impact of terror

(AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth) By its nature the horrendous act in Manchester Monday night will have the greatest emotional effect on teenagers. They will relate to being at a concert and the fear, chaos and devastation an act like this would create. They will...

read more

13 Reasons for Reflection

Upon recommendation from a number of people, I eventually got to watch the much talked about Netflix series 13 Reasons Why. My apologies for being a little late to this discussion, but as a father of 3 small children, finding time to binge-watch a Netflix series over...

read more

Poetry Therapy

One of my very earliest memories of writing is of learning how to write my name at age 3 or 4. I saw nothing wrong with writing in large letters "mad" then underneath "ge". It looked lovely to me. Adults around me laughed. “You have to write it all on the one line”...

read more

Does having depression increase the risk of stigmatisation?

Depression is a common mental health disorder affecting as many as 350 million people worldwide at any one time according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). Depression is a mood disorder often referred to as major depressive disorder or clinical depression. It is...

read more

Depression – Misunderstood

What’s in a word? How many times have we heard the words “It’s so depressing” or “I am depressed”? What does it really mean and in saying these words are we talking about an experience that is perhaps fleetingly negative? The words depression and depressive illness...

read more

#MindYourSelfie Day 2017

This year we launched our new School Resource Packs on #MindYourSelfie Day (31st March). We were blown away by the support and feedback from schools for this initiative. As some of you are aware, on #MindYourSelfie Day we held a social media campaign to promote the...

read more

Blathnaid is boosting her Selfie ‘Steem

RTE Presenter Blathnaid Treacy and U2 star Adam Clayton, along with Ireland’s top bloggers will be sharing their selfies on Friday 31st March to launch the new #MindYourSelfie School Resource Packs; our exciting school mental health activity pack. Blathnaid, RTE’s...

read more

A life well-lived

Everyone is talking about ‘Happiness’, but so far no single definition of it actually exists. One thing is certain. Everybody wants to be ‘Happy’. Although there may be some rare pathological exceptions to this generalisation, in reality the human desire for...

read more

Join us on March 31st for #MindYourSelfie Day 2017

How Can You Get Involved? take a selfie and post to your social media accounts on Friday March 31st. Use the hashtag #MindYourSelfie #MindYourSelfie is an initiative that was developed by Walk in My Shoes, the mental health awareness and education campaign of St....

read more

10 ways gender equality matters to mental health

Today is International Women’s Day, a day which serves as a call to action for achieving gender equality around the world. This year on International Women’s Day, the 7th World Congress on Women’s Mental Health will be taking place in Dublin and shining a gendered...

read more

Eating Disorders – Family members and stigma

People who experience mental health difficulties, including those experiencing an eating disorder, often encounter the stigmatising opinion of other people resulting in the devaluing of the person, discrimination and social exclusion. One of the main reasons this...

read more

Eating disorders come in one size – Miserable

One of the most damaging perceptions about eating disorders is that they are something that can be seen, that their severity is based on physical presentation and that only extremely thin individuals are ill. One of the big barriers to treatment is a feeling of ‘not...

read more

What Lies Beneath

We all wear masks in various aspects of our lives to fulfil our daily roles, to be professional, to meet expectations. For people who experience mental health difficulties, including anyone with an eating disorder diagnosis, that mask is one that they often struggle...

read more

Stigma and Eating Disorders

Often when we hear of terms like ‘eating disorder’, ‘anorexia’ or ‘bulimia’ we have an associated image in our heads related to those terms. For those who have not had any personal experience of eating disorders, the conjured image is often an emaciated celebrity who...

read more

Disconnect and Connect

Tips for Parents to manage technology use at home: 1. Be the best role model you can be: Switch off the mobile when your child is present, don't be distracted by emails or news feeds. Demonstrate that there is a time for technology but there are also times when you...

read more

Alarming Rise in Rates of Adolescent Self-Harm

Ahead of their upcoming conference on 1st March, St Patrick’s Mental Health Services and Pieta House are urging parents, school-teachers and caregivers across the country to get educated on the subject of self-harm. St Patrick’s CEO, Paul Gilligan, said, “The increase...

read more

How cancer taught me compassion and gratitude in suffering

I should probably be afraid of Tom Hanks. His movies are the ones I seem to be watching just before those I love depart this world. Morbid, I know, but it’s amazing the things you remember after traumatic events. My mum and I loved watching movies together and on the...

read more

Short-Film Competition 2016-17

The WIMS Short Film Competition Awards took place in January here in St. Patrick’s . The judges included Michael Doherty (RTE Guide), Sylvia Thompson (Irish Times) and Paul Gilligan. The two main objectives for the film competition were to improve awareness about...

read more

Self Harm Awareness Conference 2017

We need to talk about Self-Harm - St Patrick’s Mental Health Services and Pieta House to tackle a critical topic in the Aviva Stadium. St Patrick’s Mental Health Services, Ireland’s largest independent mental health service provider in partnership with Pieta House,...

read more

10 ways to get through Blue Monday and beyond

After the buzz and good cheer of the festive season, January can feel like one long and exhausting slog. Researchers have dubbed January 16th as ‘Blue Monday’ or the most depressing day of the year. It’s dark and cold outside, summer is nowhere in sight, morale is at...

read more

Turning January Blues Into January Boosts!

With ‘Blue Monday’ fast approaching, St Patrick’s Mental Health Services is encouraging us to focus on positive change for 2017. Edel Fortune, Day Services Programme Manager at St Patrick’s, says, “New Year should be a time when we think of change, of moving forward...

read more

6 tips for coping with SAD

Have you ever noticed that as the days get shorter, so does your mood. Your energy dips and you become irritable. You could be living with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). SAD is a form of depression related to changes in the seasons. For most people SAD emerges...

read more

Working on Walk In My Shoes Radio

Gina Lu takes a moment to tell us what it's like to work on Walk In My Shoes Radio. The fourth season of what is now called Walk In My Shoes Radio (WIMS) was an absolute BLAST. Walk in My Shoes Radio broadcasted live from St. Patrick’s Mental Health Services on James...

read more

Stop Male Suicide

“Hoping men will become more like women is costing us the lives of our fathers, brothers, sons, uncles and nephews.” This year the theme for International Men’s Day is Stop Male Suicide. On average one person dies by suicide every 40 seconds somewhere in the world,...

read more

Seasons and Stresses

What is Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and what can we do about it? Contrary to popular belief most mental health problems are neither longstanding nor permanent. Mental health difficulties are typically episodic and they are most often transient. While they...

read more

Eating Disorder, disordered eating or just a diet?

Today is International No Diet Day. One of the questions many people have is how do you diagnose an eating disorder? This occurs for people who become concerned about a friend, a child or themselves. Most people find going to the text books unhelpful as the categories...

read more

Chats for Change 2016

Walk in My Shoes teamed up with USI (Union of Students in Ireland) and PleaseTalk for the 4th year of the ChatsForChange Campaign, in November. ChatsForChange packs were distributed to colleges and include 2 tea bags (kindly donated by Robert Roberts) and a Student...

read more

Tips on how to be an emotionally healthy parent

All children have the capacity to live emotionally healthy lives. Parents and teachers play a key role in influencing and nurturing this.  For children being emotionally healthy requires feeling loved, believing in themselves, being able to be happy and feeling safe....

read more

Survey shows 22% say they would conceal suicidal thoughts

Findings released today by St Patrick’s Mental Health Services ahead of World Suicide Prevention Day 2016 indicate that stigma is still a significant barrier which prevents people from seeking help for mental health difficulties. The research, which is carried out...

read more

Love yourself. Be kind to yourself. Be happy.

On July 31st, the Y.E.S. panel set up shop on Cow’s Lane, Dublin 8, as part of ‘Make Your Motto’. An annual event, ‘Make Your Motto’ challenges the public to share their words of encouragement and wisdom relating to mental health. The popularity of ‘Make Your Motto’...

read more

Leaving Cert results advice

It's almost that time of year again when the wait is over and the dreams of young people are realised or dashed. The thoughts of college life become a reality. The wait for CAO offers begins in earnest and a massive collective sigh of relief for parents nationally is...

read more

Festival-goers, mind your mental health!

Are you preparing for your first festival or are you looking for some tips to better enjoy the experience? We put together some advice for festival-goers to mind their mental health during the festival season. St Patrick's Mental Health Services CEO, Paul Gilligan,...

read more

Cyber bullying

Cyber bullying has been defined as an aggressive, intentional act carried out by a group or individual using electronic forms of contact repeatedly and over time against a victim who cannot easily defend him or herself

read more

In My Room, by Jim Lucey

The room is a space for the mind, and a metaphor for the mind at the same time. Most of us will never find ourselves on a psychiatrist’s couch and yet our lives would be perilous if we did not make space for our mental health. In this space, we can hold up a mirror and acknowledge our search for meaning. By going to the room, life becomes more resourceful and rewarding. In showing up there, we show up for life itself.

read more

Inside Out – A Psychological Insight

One of the approaches that can be used to explain quite complex emotional concepts to children is metaphor. This is because something that is described in a ‘once removed’ way is far less threatening and therefore more prone to understanding. The use of metaphor in ‘Inside Out’ is fantastic.

read more

Raising Emotionally Healthy Children

Being emotionally healthy is vital to our overall happiness and ability to live an enjoyable and fulfilling life. The evidence tells us that children who are emotionally healthy and psychologically resilient are less likely to experience emotional difficulties and are more likely to overcome these difficulties if they occur.

read more

Stay ahead of your child’s exam stress!

No matter how much you prepare for exams, the pressure is firmly on and often the anxiety can be overwhelming for both students and their parents. However, according to St. Patrick’s Mental Health Services, anxiety is not always a bad thing. Colman Noctor, Child and...

read more

9 Common myths about sleep

The average human will spend one third of his or her life asleep, so that a person who manages to live to 90 years will have spent at least 30 years of that life in the state of altered consciousness we call sleeping. Something we devote so much time to, as much as...

read more

Time to talk

The Walk in My Shoes phone line is part of the Support and Information department in St. Patrick’s Mental Health Service. It is a dedicated phone line for young people between the ages of 18-25 who need advice in relation to their own mental health or that of a...

read more

Fear of Flying: Can’t Fly, Won’t Fly… Now Fly with CBT

Fear of flying (Aviophobia) is an anxiety based problem and can lead to extreme high levels of anxiety. This limits the travel a person can do, i.e. going on a holiday, or travel for work. One in four people on every flight has some level of fear. One in ten people...

read more

“When music hits you, you feel no pain”

A question I often ask new music and health students is ‘how would you describe music to an extra-terrestrial landing on earth for the first time demanding to know more about this strange phenomenon?’ Their answers vary greatly but often cluster somewhere around the...

read more

Parents need to be aware & supportive during exam time

Exam pressure is one of the top causes of anxiety in young people. Experts at St. Patrick's University Hospital say that parents need to be aware & supportive during this time. Paul Gilligan, CEO at St. Patrick's says "The exam period can be a very tense and...

read more

International Children’s Day

Never before have parents taken their role as parents so seriously. They on average spend more quality time with their children than their own parents or grandparents spent with their children. They are more aware than previous generations of parents of keeping their...

read more

Surviving the last few weeks of the Leaving Cert run in…

"It’s nearly here…" that sentence will resonate with some students as the positive prospect that they will soon have this arduous process of hard work, tension and build up finally out of their lives. For others, this sentence will send a sense of dread through their...

read more

Stress and the College Student

Multiple deadlines, midterms, and projects – it’s part of college life. But add in a part-time job, social activities and loans, and it’s no wonder so many undergraduates are stressed out. Stress Stats • 22: The average age when a person will experience anxiety for...

read more

No Diet Day 2016

International Diet Day is dedicated to promoting a healthy life style and raising awareness of the potential dangers of dieting and the unlikelihood of success. There are numerous fad diets out there claiming rapid and sustainable weight loss, however we often need to...

read more

Occupational Stress – what it is and how to deal with it

Today is World Day for Safety and Health at Work What do we mean by stress? There are many useful definitions that describe in detail what stress is and what occupational stress means. A scientific definition could be that stress is one’s reactions to life’s events:...

read more

International Association of Youth Mental Health Conference

The Youth Empowerment Service [YES] members share their experiences at the 2015 International Association of Youth Mental Health [IAYMH] Conference, Montreal. The IAYMH conference is an international youth mental health conference and the theme for 2015 was...

read more

Take a selfie, mind your selfie

Ireland’s A-List bloggers take part in #MindYourSelfie day, Friday 8th April to support Walk in My Shoes awareness campaign Dublin, 5th April 2016; U2’s Adam Clayton, along with almost 30 of Ireland’s A-List bloggers and celebrities, will be sharing their selfies on...

read more

Deliberate Self-Harm or Non-Suicidal Self-Injury.

Listen to Prof. Jim Lucey on Today with Sean O'Rourke 16/03/2016 Why an assessment could make all the difference Deliberate self-injury is a very common behaviour. In fact it is so common that it has become the commonest reason people attend an emergency department...

read more

Happiness is relative to expectations

In today's world our expectations are being increased and increased on a daily basis as we are promised things that are bigger, faster and easier to attain. Unfortunately sometimes our reality lags considerably behind this 'ideal' and therefore our potential for...

read more

Women and Mental Health

International Women’s Day, Brain Awareness week, 8 March It is an undeniable fact that women are four times more likely than men to suffer from stress-related mental health disorders. By contrast, the major clinical disorders of mental health afflict women with the...

read more

Mindfulness for the modern mother

Busy mums can benefit from being mindful this Mother’s Day This weekend, mammies across Ireland will be honoured with breakfast in bed, flowers, chocolates, and the promise of a chore-free day. However, as demands of motherhood become more complex in a modern society,...

read more

Body Shame to Body Compassion

The human body, at peace with itself, is more precious than the rarest gem. Cherish your body; it is yours this one time only. The human form is won with difficulty, it is easy to lose. All worldly things are brief, like lightning in the sky; this life you must know...

read more

Movie Matters – Mental Health Matters

2015 was a record year for St Patrick’s Mental Health Services “Frame of Mind” Short Film Competition, having received over 50 submissions from filmmakers who were asked to produce a short film they believe depicts the importance of positive mental health. The...

read more

Addiction to the Internet– A Warning for Parents

Traditionally, we understand addiction to mean chemical dependence or psychological dependence on a substance or activity. However perhaps it is better to use the term ‘problematic misuse’ to understand our reliance on internet and similar activities. What defines...

read more

How can we become more mentally resilient in 2016?

Listen to Prof. Jim Lucey on RTE Radio 1 with Sean O'Rourke 04/01/2016 (Podcast Recording) This year we are celebrating the first one hundred years since the proclamation of our independence. It’s timely to ponder our ambitions for the next phase of our history. One...

read more

A mental health Helpline for 18 – 25 year olds

“Christmas can be a lonely time of the year. If you're feeling down, call us. We are experienced mental health professionals and we can help.” St. Patrick’s ‘Walk in My Shoes’ Initiative has launched a facebook promotional campaign for its young adult helpline - The...

read more

Mind Your Mental Health As The Christmas Countdown Begins

The carols are singing out on TV and radio adverts, decorations are appearing in shop windows, and the must-have gifts for 2015 are lining the shelves. Yes, the countdown to Christmas is well and truly on. For many, Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year,...

read more
Share This