‘We see the world not as it is but as we are’ – Donegal free mental health training on offer


IN a world where our perceptions shape our reality, mental health emerges as a collective concern, influenced by factors beyond individual control.

The impact of war, health crises, and economic struggles has put a strain on our well-being.


Amidst life’s stressors like unemployment and housing insecurity, individuals can feel overwhelmed and trapped, while additional challenges such as substance abuse further exacerbate mental health issues.

Recognising the importance of community support, Connecting for Life (CfL) Donegal promotes the role of compassion and empathy in reducing distress.

Encouraging people to offer support to those in need, CfL highlights the significance of simple actions like listening, asking, and ensuring safety.

A key element is the power of compassionate listening.

Taking the time to understand another’s struggles and offering care can profoundly impact their well-being.

Initiating conversations about mental health is also considered important.

Asking a simple question like “are you ok?” can provide a gateway to understanding and support.


In addition, we should be listening to distress signals and offering support early on.

This not only fosters connection but also enables timely intervention, and we should recognise the importance of ensuring the safety of individuals in distress and guiding them to appropriate resources.

In their efforts to promote open dialogue about mental health, CfL Donegal provides free Suicide Prevention Training to empower everyone of us in the community.

Tommy, a trainer for CfL, highlights the training’s role in giving individuals the tools they need to discuss suicidal thoughts with empathy and understanding.

“Training in suicide prevention can really help equip us to discuss the topic of suicidal thoughts with another person who is in distress,” said Tommy.

“Talking about suicide wont put the idea into their head. In fact it may relieve their burden by being able to talk about their difficulties and increase hope and help get them to safety by connecting them with the right services,” he added.

Another trainer, Gemma, echoes the sentiment, and speaks about the importance of letting individuals in distress know they are not alone and that help is available.

“Yes it can feel overwhelming when someone tells you they are feeling suicidal, but the key message is to let them know, they are not on their own and there is help available. One in three of us will have a mental health difficulty at some point in our lives so it is important to ask for help,” said Gemma.

We also spoke with HSE West Resource Officer for Suicide Prevention in Donegal, Ciara Wray.

“Connection is the most powerful gift we can offer one another. Connection reduces isolation and increases hope. We need to reach in when others are struggling and encourage those who need to, to reach out. Asking for help takes courage,” said Ciara.

As CfL Donegal continues its mission to break down barriers surrounding mental health, their message remains clear: community support and compassion are essential in fostering resilience and well-being for all.

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