With Blue Monday upon us, lets discuss how we can look after our mental health

With Blue Monday upon us, lets discuss how we can look after our mental health

“Blue Monday” is the name given to the Monday that falls in the last full week of January every year. It has been suggested that this is the most depressing day of the year”-Mentalhealth.ie

Studies show the reason for this is because of the shorter days and lack of sunlight that come with this time of year.

Its important to look after our mental health so below we have listed a few ways you can do so.

  1. Exercise- Exercise releases endorphin’s in our brains that cause us to feel happier, so this can be a great way to combat feeling low during the winter months.
  2. Sleep- Making sure we get a good nights rest is super important for our mental health. It energizes us for our day and helps our memory.
  3. Relax- Its very important not to over do it. Make sure to take some down time so your stress levels stay low.
  4. Eat well- Making sure you have a balanced diet will help with your energy levels and self esteem.
  5. Mindfulness- Focus on the now and try not to worry about things you can’t control.
  6. Be sociable- A good way to help if your’e feeling down over Christmas is to meet up with friends and loved ones.
  7. Talk- Making sure to talk to someone when you’re feeling down is very important for your mental health.
  8. Work on your self esteem- Stop comparing yourself to others and accepting yourself will help improve self confidence.
  9. Set goals- Managing our time is important for our mental health to avoid getting stressed.
  10. Get help- Always make sure you reach out to those that can help if you need it. The following are some of the organisations you can talk to.

The Samaritans
Free phone: 116 123
Email: jo@samaritans.org

Aware (Depression, Bi-Polar Disorder & Anxiety)
Tel: 1800 80 48 48

Email: supportmail@aware.ie

Pieta House (Suicide & Self-harm)
National Suicide Helpline (Pieta House) 1800 247 247

Tel: 01 623 5606

Turn2Me.org (Online one to one or group counselling)
Grow (Mental Health support and Recovery)
Tel: 1890 474 474

Bodywhys (Eating Disorders Associations of Ireland)
1890 200 444

Irish Advocacy Network (Peer advocacy in mental health)
Tel: 01 872 8684

IACP (Counselling & Psychotherapy)
Tel: 01 230 3536

Irish Council for Psychotherapy (Counselling & Psychotherapy)
Tel: 01 905 8698

Shine (Supporting people effected by mental ill health)


1800 66 66 66 24hr a day

One to one chat – 10am-4am

Text BULLY or TALK or HELP to 50101 from 10am to 4am



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What it is like living with a visual impairment

What it is like living with a visual impairment

Robert Morrissey tell us what its like during your education living with a visual impairment.

Explaining to someone what your visual impairment is and how it affects your day-to-day can be difficult. Describing what life is like through your eyes, you can’t paint a picture, the perspective you have is not the same as that of a person with a better level of vision.


Living with my level of sight made certain tasks more difficult, reading, judging steps, note-taking etc.. How you overcome is important. Meeting visually impaired and blind people at events organised by the National Council for the Blind of Ireland (NCBI), many of them would say the same. Life is what you make of it. In my case, support through the NCBI and assistants in schools over the years has made a difference, allowing me to pursue things that, without their help, would seem and be more tough to achieve.


I have lost count of how many eye tests, hospital visits, and days off from school I used to have. You get tired of course, The positive was that I understood more and more how my sight developed, what the diagnosis of retinal dysfunction and congenital nystagmus was.


You get told that you can do a lot of things, for me the level of sight that I had made some doctors – not all – put you in a category. It would be said you would never play football or stuff like that, which when thrown around it can set a fear about your progression in life. It didn’t stop my parents believing I could be independent, and they were right. Independence is a huge factor in any disabled person’s life I would say. You have every right to do things by yourself, but sometimes it is asking for help when you stumble that requires you to be at your most independent mindset.


At school, I sat near the board and used magnifying tools supplied by the NCBI. Around the age of 10, I started learning touch-typing and braille. Skills that are invaluable to me now.


The Department of Education supplied me with a laptop – which was a big help – given the delayed focus in my vision which often left me behind in finishing class work. In my teens, I began to wear contact lenses, improving my peripheral vision, though still left with a very low-level of sight.


Secondary school was difficult, we moved to a new room for each class and you meet new people. Overcoming that was in part, down to just having understanding teachers and friends. Having a laptop and an assistant to help me take notes, along with a new device called an Opti Verso, a zoom camera on an extendable arm  that hung over the laptop on a pad. The hesitation of getting around and finding a viewpoint became less daunting. For exams, The Department of Education issued specially enlarged exam papers, some of which had not been attempted before, so it was trial and error but has helped them define papers for students like me.


College was exciting. Unfortunately, only a few colleges in the Disability Access Route to Education (DARE) scheme offered media or journalism courses. The scheme would have given me the chance to go on using Department of Education equipment, but it was limited to the number of colleges at the time. It seemed like a headache but when I found Griffith College, they were approachable and helped me with similar exam conditions and lecture notes on PDFs. They were keen to assist and for that I was lucky since the DARE scheme and SUSI grant were not available.


It is important to raise awareness about what is out there for young people who are blind or visually impaired. Assistive technology like Ash Technologies’ low-vision aids, products like Dragon Dictate and built-in accessibility software on our devices, prove there are always new ways to help improve the way we live. For those who are visually impaired or blind, they should look to the NCBI, AHEAD and DARE to provide help and excel in education. Most colleges also have their own disability office too, to help academically and to support your independence.

Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash



Myanmar Independence day, January 4th

Myanmar Independence day, January 4th

Today January 4th 2018 marks the 70th year since Myanmar gained its independence from Britain in 1948.

On January 4th 1948 the nation become an independent republic, named the Union of Burma. Notably they declined to join the British common wealth.

Although this day is celebrated, they do not celebrate it as their national day instead they celebrate their national day in late November early December.

On their Independence day festivals and traditional activities are held across the country to celebrate. Men and women wear the nations dress Burma which consists of a colourless shirt and skirt.





Photo by Roxanne Desgagnés on Unsplash

Make volunteering your New Year’s resolution

Make volunteering your New Year’s resolution

With today being the first of the new year, it’s time to start those all important New Years resolutions.

How about this year making volunteering one of your New Years resolutions.

Volunteering can have a number of benefits.

1.You can learn and develop skills through volunteering.

2.You can give back by helping those who need it most.

3.You will meet loads of new people.

4.It can be challenging, yet rewarding.

5.You will have fun.

This year you can get involved with Suas Educational Development and help children’s literacy by visiting Suas.ie

You can also get involved here at Stand and write about the global issues you care about by visiting Stand.ie

Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash



In the midst of the season of giving, give to those who need it most

In the midst of the season of giving, give to those who need it most

Now that Christmas Day has been and gone and we have given all of our nearest and dearest their gifts, now lets think about how we can give to those that need it most.

Huge amounts of people are without a home this Christmas and here is how you can help.

Many non-profit organisations are in constant need for volunteers, it is an awarding experience knowing you are giving to those who need it most.


If you want to volunteer some time this Christmas organisations like The Simon Community and Focus Ireland are always looking for volunteers you can find their websites here www.focusireland.ie/ www.dubsimon.ie/

You can also make donations via these website big or small.


Photo by Ben White on Unsplash