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mental health awareness

It is hard to believe that it’s been an entire year since we found out about Kate Spade’s passing. The world was stunned when news broke that the 55-year-old died by suicide on June 5, 2018.

The passing of the designer sparked a vital conversation about mental health, highlighting the fact that anyone can suffer and struggle, no matter what they have. Her company has continued to highlight the importance of providing support for those suffering from mental health issues by donating to numerous charities.

Kate Spade New York have vowed to match donations to The Jed Foundation. They will match donations up to $100,000.

They have also generously given grants to mental health organisations Fountain House and Didi Hirsch.

In honour of Kate’s anniversary, they shared a heartfelt tribute on Twitter.

They wrote: “She was smart, chic, artful, witty, charming, trailblazing, gracious & so much more.

“Kate Spade inspired millions of women to stand out in a crowd. We honor the life of our visionary founder and all the joy and beauty she brought into this world. Her vision inspires us every day,” they added.

The anniversary of Kate Spade has encouraged her fans to reach out to their loved ones to remind them they’re not alone in their struggles.

Showing one another that there is support out there makes a difference. It shows those who are struggling that they are not fighting this battle alone.

Kate is survived by her husband Andy and their 14-year-old daughter Frances.

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Pieta House has announced a new fundraising initiative aimed at corporates, businesses and SME’s to refocus their love and save ‘A Life A Day’ by donating €1,000 this Valentine’s Day.

Last year in Ireland, more than a life a day was lost to suicide and Pieta House is now calling on companies to donate €1,000 to reduce this number one day at a time. By sponsoring a life for €1,000, companies will fund a full counselling programme for one vulnerable individual suffering from feelings of hopelessness or despair.

Year on year, corporate gifting with flowers, chocolates and jewellery has increased nationwide so instead of dwelling on material items, Pieta House wants to refocus the love and kick-start the new fundraising initiative for ‘A Life A Day’ on what’s traditionally known as the most caring day of the year.

Over the course of a year, Pieta House is aiming to raise €1,000 from 365 companies to reach their target of €365,000 to save a life a day.

Speaking about the new initiative, Kieran Brady, Director of Funding & Advocacy in Pieta House, said; “We’re extremely passionate about life-saving work here in Pieta House and we rely heavily on our volunteers, friends and fellow organisations to support and encourage initiatives such as ‘A Life A Day’.

“According to official statistics from the CSO, more than 392 lives were lost to suicide in 2017, a figure which relates to more than one life a day. The average age of a Pieta House service user is under 30 so we’re calling on corporates, businesses and SME’s to be proactive and protect the wellbeing of their employees by supporting the fight against suicide. By donating just €1,000, you’ll be directly impacting a life that might be otherwise lost to suicide.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Pieta House (@pieta.house) on

Since it was established in 2006 to provide free and accessible, professional services to people who are in suicidal crisis or who are self-harming, Pieta House has worked with over 44,000 people, and has become one of Ireland’s leading charitable organisations in today’s society where suicide, self-harm and stigma have been replaced with self-care, hope and acceptance.

Pieta House, which started as a small, Dublin-based charity, now employs over 270 therapists and administrative staff nationwide and has 15 centres across the country.

In 2018 alone, over 7,400 people came through its doors. From day one, all of the services it provides have been offered completely free of charge.

To help to reduce the rate of suicide in Ireland and save ‘A Life A Day’, you can donate online via www.pieta.ie/alifeaday.ie . For further information on Pieta House and its services, visit www.pieta.ie.

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Piers Morgan and Coronation Street star Beverley Callard have commented on the ‘trend’ of celebrities opening up about their mental health issues, claiming that they’re trying to make mental health disorders ‘fashionable’.

The ludicrous and disheartening beliefs of both the Good Morning Britain host and the soap star have unsurprisingly ruffled a few feathers.

More and more people are suffering from disorders like anxiety, bipolar and depression these days and the last thing we should be doing is dismissing the conversation.

We idolise celebrities. We put them on pedestals and are more than likely going to believe what they say as opposed to your regular joe.

Using their platforms to raise awareness about disorders that plague many of us is far from harmful. It’s quite possibly one of the beneficial things they can do online instead of boasting about their luxurious lifestyles and shockingly expensive holidays.

Game of Thrones star Sophie Turner is one of many celebrities who has been an advocate for mental health in recent years, so there’s no doubt Piers’ claims angered the 22-year-old actress.

Sophie took to Twitter to express her disgust and disappointment in a series of moving tweets.

She wrote: “People who think it’s okay to make jokes about mental illness, I feel you must be lucky, because surely you don’t understand or can’t comprehend what it is like to have or know someone with an illness like this.

“Depression is the second biggest killer in affluent Europe and America. One of the greatest reasons being, I believe, is because mental illness has so much stigma surrounding it,” Sophie stated.

People are so afraid to discuss their mental health issues because of that overwhelming and unnecessary stigma. They fear being judged, laughed at and worst of all, not being taken seriously if they do discuss their problems.

Sophie continued: “If we can just all speak out about our experiences or our loved ones experiences we can help other people who suffer with mental illness not feel so alone. Let’s keep this dialogue going.

“You are not alone, you can manage your illness, and people who make fun of it are the minority… not you. You are loved and supported,” she concluded.

Truer words have never been spoken.
 

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Make-up might seem like a bit of fun, but our much-loved beauty products can tell an important story.

Through the creative hands of Paddy McGurgan and the hardworking team at Make-Up Pro Store, they have taken on mental health using make-up to start a campaign.

To mark Mental Health Awareness day yesterday, they picked up their brushes and carefully crafted a look to reflect the darkness mental health can bring.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by MAKE UP PRO STORE (@makeupprostore) on

Meshing the two together, the idea wanted to acknowledge that at one stage or another, we all go through challenges in our lives and it can hard to find the light.

The campaign didn't shy away from hard pressing issues like the reality of suicide rates, and they want their project to bring action in Ireland, Northern Ireland and the United Kingdom.

Titled, 'You Are Worth More Than Your Darkness', their goal is to use makeup to communicate a message to politicians, heads of state and national decision makers that more needs to be done to curb the soaring rates of suicide.

The aim is to get more care and services available for those who truly need it the most. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by GLAMBYCAMX (@glambycamx) on

The Make-Up artists, as well as fans, are being encouraged to open up in a safe space using makeup to visually articulate the rough moments that they encounter in life.  

With this campaign, makeup becomes an important and positive tool for self-expression and conscious well-being.

It's about acceptance of one's self – wherever on the spectrum of darkness into light you may find yourself on a given day. 

Make-Up Pro has even set up a masterclass on October 25 in aid of Action Mental Health in Belfast.

All ticket sales go to the charity.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Paddy Mc Gurgan (@paddymcgurganmakeupartist) on If you or someone you love are experiencing suicidal thought, there's help here.

If you or a loved one is struggling with your mental health, there's help here (ROI) and here (UK).

You can get your tickets for the masterclass and support an amazing cause, here.

Feature Image: bryonyherbert_makeup

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There were a lot of bad mental health days but then things started to get better. I started to manage my anxiety and the clouds of negative thoughts slowly started to clear in my mind.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Kat O'Connor (@katoconnorr) on

I thought my anxiety was gone. I naively thought I was ‘cured’. I was too ignorant to realise that mental health disorders don’t just magically vanish. They’re something you have to manage for life.

My anxiety reappeared this May, on one of the hardest days of my life. The memory of this day is one that will never leave my mind, I remember it all too well.

I was curled up in bed, engulfed in my copy of The Surface Breaks by Louise O’Neill when I heard a strange noise from the room next to mine.

Was someone snoring or coughing? I wasn’t quite sure, but my gut told me to check what it was.

I opened the door to find my mam turned over on her side in bed, but she wasn’t asleep. She was having what we later discovered was a seizure.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Kat O'Connor (@katoconnorr) on

She was shaking uncontrollably, foaming at the mouth, making this horrid gurgling noise because her brain had shut down and her body was struggling to breathe.

I held her grey, lifeless body in my arms and just yelled and yelled until my dad and sister came upstairs to find us. We shouted at the paramedics to hurry up and get here because as I clung onto my mam, I genuinely thought she was dead, we all did.

I sat in the James’s Hospital A&E for thirteen hours, waiting, hoping and praying my mam was okay. And she was.

The doctors explained to us that mam had a seizure, but have yet to find the cause, but they upped her medication, schedule constant appointments and are pretty pleased with how she is doing at the moment.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Kat O'Connor (@katoconnorr) on

Mam is happy and healthy, but ever since that harrowing day I have been a ball of anxiety. The trauma of nearly losing her triggered my anxiety and let it attack when I was at my most vulnerable and I must admit I haven’t been able to manage it as well as I used to.

I am jumpy at home whenever I hear an unusual noise. I wake up in the middle of the night to make sure mam is okay. Dozens of thoughts whizzing through my mind: Is she breathing? Has she taken her medication? Will she be okay when I’m at work?

My parents tell me there’s nothing to worry about, but my brain disagrees. It’s full of panic and dread every single day, and it’s no longer just about my mam’s wellbeing.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Kat O'Connor (@katoconnorr) on

I’ve started to panic on public transport again. I break out in stress rashes in my office. The heart palpitations are back. The rapid breathing is back. The negative thinking is back.

And I have accepted that.

There are days when I let my anxiety take over because I simply don’t have the energy to fight it, but one thing I’ll always remind myself of is that I am stronger than it, even on those days when I just want to give up.

There is a quote by author Matt Haig, who is a hero of mine, that I always repeat on the ‘bad brain days’.

 

“The key is in accepting your thoughts, all of them, even the bad ones. Accept thoughts, but don’t become them. Understand, for instance, that having a sad thought, even having a continual succession of sad thoughts, is not the same as being a sad person. You can walk through a storm and feel the wind but you know you are not the wind.”

 

I have accepted my anxiety. I have accepted the bad days, the panic attacks and the constant worrying, but I never let myself forget that this too shall pass.

 

If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this feature you can contact Pieta House 24/7 Helpline 1800 247 247 or the Samaritans Helpline 116 123.

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Anxiety isn’t cute or trendy. It’s not about being shy or bashful. It’s not about being too sensitive or too nervous. It’s a serious mental illness that many people fail to treat with respect or care.

Speaking of his battle with depression, author Matt Haig wrote:

“Depression is also smaller than you. Always, it is smaller than you, even when it feels vast. It operates within you, you do not operate within it. It may be a dark cloud passing across the sky but – if that is the metaphor – you are the sky. You were there before it. And the cloud can't exist without the sky, but the sky can exist without the cloud.”

I think this applies to anxiety too. Even when you are at your lowest, you are more powerful than it, because anxiety doesn’t exist without you.

That said, suffering from an anxiety disorder isn’t easy, but there are little ways to help soothe the disorder, which will make your life that little bit easier.

1: Music:

It’s simple but so effective. I know listening to a Spotify playlist isn’t going to magically cure your anxiety disorder, but it can help a lot. I found that listening to music from my early teens helps trigger positive memories.

I am a firm believer in the power of nostalgia, and experts have found that is helps increase your mood and energy levels.

2: Tell someone:

I know opening up about your disorder is one of the hardest things to do. There is a huge stigma surrounding mental health disorders, especially here in Ireland. However, telling my friends about my anxiety gave me access to a huge network of support. Talking about mental health is difficult, because a lot of people can be dismissive, but confiding in someone who deeply cares about you will make a massive difference.

3: Be organised:

This is the tip that has helped me more than anything. I have hugely benefited from becoming a more organised person as it eases my mind. Sticking to a schedule will keep your anxiety at bay because you will feel in control of the situation. Chanel your inner Monica Geller, but maybe leave your label maker at home if you’re heading out for cocktails with the girls.

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Geordie Shore girl Holly Hagan is known for her friendly demeanour and usually upbeat attitude.

However, the Geordie star has opened up about her struggles with anxiety in a powerful throwback Instagram post.

Urging her followers to 'stop the stigma,' the reality TV star shared a personal post to mark Mental Health Awareness Week. 

Sharing a fun snap of herself and best friend Charlotte, Holly wrote an extensive and thought-provoking caption:

'This day and these photos will forever stick out for me. Look how happy I am and how much fun we're having!' she began.'

'Five minutes before this was taken I was in Charlottes arms unable to breath having one of the biggest panic attacks of my life.'

'If you know that tingling light headed buzzing ringing in the ear feeling your body is starting to go numb and when you know it's coming and you're fighting to stop it and all of a sudden it feels like your chest is so tight your heart is going to explode and you go to breath in and it feels like someone's put a plug in your airway.'

'Tears streaming out of my face completely terrified and embarrassed. But of course once that was over I had to work, put on that brave confident face and pretend it never happened.'

'I had so many attacks that day I was exhausted. I'd say this was the height of my anxiety but to look at me would you ever have even known?'

'I'm the girl who will panic about being late so much that I'm an hour early. I'm the girl who will spend 3 hours on a train worrying about asking the person next to me to move if I need to get off.'

'BUT I'm also the girl who is now in Thailand ALONE! I'm meeting people and actually initiating conversations with others rather than standing at the back scared to make eye contact!'

'Im the girl who is always gunna have anxiety but I'm also the girl who's telling you it doesn't have to control your life!' she continued, highlighting how things can and will get better for those suffering, even if they feel there is no hope. 

'For the first time in my life I'm truly happy and I'm so grateful every single day that I'm managing to get past this I can't even remember the last time I had a panic attack there's always someone listening whatever you're going through you are NOT ALONE.'

We commend Holly for sharing her story with her fans, and attempting to use her platform to raise awareness for mental health issues. 

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Instagram makeup challenges usually involve creating an entire look using glitter, contouring with household objects or creating an a full face look using only Kylie Cosmetics, but there's a new makeup challenge with a difference doing the rounds.

Beauty Youtuber Li'l Moonchild, otherwise known as Yasaman Gheidi is using makeup to raise awareness about mental illnesses in an attempt to lessen the stigma surrounding mental disorders.  

The 27-year-old makeup maven uploaded a touching video to YouTube in which she utilises makeup as a means to portray the emotions she's privately been struggling with. 

 

A photo posted by YASAMAN GHEIDI (@lilmoonchildd) on

 The blogger uploaded the look to Instagram and shared her story, describing how she attended a work dinner party, but was forced to leave after suffering a massive panic and anxiety attack.

The following day, Yasaman was concerned that her co-workers would have noticed her swift disappearance and questioned it. 

"Why did I have to be ashamed and lie about my anxiety attack? So many wonderful and amazing people suffer from the same mental illnesses that I do on a daily basis."

"Why can't we just talk about it openly? This experience along with many others inspired my 'Inside Out Challenge'"

 

A photo posted by Britt Gorman (@bat.barbie) on

The challenge, which takes it's name from Disney Pixar film Inside Out, which showcases the tumultuous emotions felt by young people, encouraged people to show what they or others feel on the inside through the external medium of makeup. 

The challenge has been picked up by hundreds of budding MUAs, some of which have been brave enough to also share their stories of anxiety, depression and self esteem issues. 

"Together we CAN chip away at this stigma, we CAN make a difference, and we CAN make the world a kinder place," says Yasaman.

"Just by doing this challenge you are MAKING A DIFFERENCE!" said Yasaman in an Instagram post.

"You are not only starting an important dialogue about mental health, but you are also telling your friends and family that they are not alone in their struggles, and most importantly you are proving to yourself than you are one incredibly BRAVE person."

And with 62% of Irish people admitting that they would not want others knowing if they themselves had a mental health problem, and up to 65% of people saying that being treated for a mental health problem is viewed by Irish society as a sign of failure, it's definitely a makeup challenge with meaning. 

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