Look After Your Mental Health

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Health Minister Michael McGimpsey emphasised the importance of looking after your mental health during a visit to the Balmoral Show.

The minister was visiting his department's exhibition stand at the King's Hall event, which has promoting positive mental health and suicide prevention as its theme.

He said: "As many as one in five people in Northern Ireland are thought to suffer from mental health problems, yet there is still a stigma attached to this issue.

"Attitudes to mental health also have to change. We have to tackle the misunderstandings and fears of society to reduce discrimination and stigmatisation in order to allow those users of services to be fully integrated into the community.

"We need to learn to look after our mental health in the same manner as we do with our physical health, by beginning to share our thoughts and feelings and if needs be, to seek help."

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The regional crisis helpline, Lifeline, was recently announced by the minister and is one service available for those who need someone to talk to.

The minister said: "I am delighted that Lifeline is now fully operational and is offering additional support to those in crisis across Northern Ireland.

"The people who answer the calls are trained counsellors. They are available 24/7 to listen and provide help and support in the strictest confidence.

"They are trained to deal with issues such as suicide, self-harm, abuse, trauma, anxiety and depression.

"Lifeline provides immediate help over the phone line and can arrange appointments for counselling or other therapies in local areas. The counsellors can also put callers in contact with follow-up services to ensure they receive the best possible response to their needs.

"Lifeline also gives support and guidance to families and carers and concerned friends."

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