Caring for Others: Mental Health Awareness Month 2023

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Caring for Others: Mental Health Awareness Month 2023

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and this year we’re highlighting how the outdoors can help our mental health, with a focus on how to get out safely and responsibly.

Our first Mental Health Awareness Month article focused on the different organisations in Ireland and abroad who are highlighting the importance of our environment when it comes to our mental health, and linking related resources. We’ve also shared how, through some simple planning ahead and preparing, we can make that initial step out the door that bit easier.

Today, we’re covering two of our Principles – and how we can think about them in relation to Mental Health Awareness:

Be Considerate of Others &
Respect Farm Animals and Wildlife

Both of these principles ask us to care for those around us when outdoors, whether people or animals. Our prompts for thinking about these principles today are;

The outdoors is for everybody

There are many people who are new to the outdoors and are still finding their feet. If you’re someone experienced in exploring the Irish countryside, a smile of encouragement can go along way! With that smile you can add in some outdoor wisdom on how to get outside responsibly.

If you’re someone new to the outdoors, talking is powerful! While it may feel daunting to take the this step, asking a farmer or local where’s best to park, or how best to access a specific place is always the best bet. Local knowledge, understanding, and respect is the foundation for all of us accessing the outdoors. If you don’t know what to do, a local or experienced outdoor person will always appreciate someone asking for advice, instead of guessing.

People experience the world differently, and our enjoyment of the outdoors doesn’t need to take away from other people’s time outside too. Loud noises can effect people with sensory sensitivity. Check out Shamrock Squad’s resources family focused advice for getting outdoors when someone in the group has additional or special needs – such as their sensory overload scoreboards.

It’s always okay to ask for help

Whatever the situation, it is always okay to ask for help.

And it’s not just us who believe this – Cycle Against Suicide organise group cycling events, with thousands of people each year turning up to support their belief that “it’s okay not to feel okay, and it’s absolutely okay to ask for help”. They have links for anyone to find help in your area; they run a primary schools’ programme ‘Mind Me – Mind You’; have resources for understanding different aspects of our mental health; training to become a community buddy, and much more on their website.

Considering Animals

Ireland has a fantastic range of wild, farm, and pet animals! If you’re heading out, remember the Rule of Thumb for giving animals the space and respect they deserve. This can be used for all animals, not just the wildlife we encounter! Giving a farm plenty of space will help it not feel threatened, which can also help you enjoy your day.

Help to reduce people’s anxiety in the outdoors by keeping dogs on a lead. We never know what someone’s previous experiences and fears are.



For all our articles on Mental Health Awareness Month 2023, check out the links are the bottom of this article

Other related articles include: