One in every four people will experience mental health problems during his/her lifetime. Mental health is a growing health, social and economic issue in Limerick with the current suicide rate being double than the national average. Mental health problems have huge personal impacts on those who experience them, and result in significant costs related to loss of productivity, disability and financial pressure on the social, educational and justice systems. It is estimated that the Irish Government spends €3 billion per year in this area. Early adulthood is identified as a particularly vulnerable period for the manifestation of mental health issues, with one in ten young adults using alcohol to forget worries and one in twenty using alcohol when anxious or depressed. Mental health difficulties, however are not confined to one specific lifestage. Currently research has identified a 20% rate of depression in Irish 12 to 16 year olds and 10% of all Irish 12 – 18 year olds are reported to experience suicidal ideation.
Limerick city currently offers a wide range of services tailored to mental health needs however there is a requirement for greater continuity and integration of services so that seamless support is available throughout the entire life span.
Limerick: A Healthy City
Minding Minds network envisages one major outcome of continuous collaboration between the various bodies in Limerick city will be the implementation of the World Health Organisation’s ‘Healthy City’. The vision of the Minding Minds Network is to create a city which is responsive to the mental and emotional needs of its people.
In order to achieve this there will be interventions at three differing levels: Policy, People and Place.
Minding Minds Network supports policy change which ensures emotional and mental well-being is prioritised on the curriculum in primary, secondary and third level education.
The Minding Minds network will advocate to government bodies to ensure that mindfulness classes become part of the school curriculum and that “Let’s talk” workshops are implemented into sports clubs and other associations that children are involved in outside of school.
The Minding Minds Network will oversee the planning of Limerick’s first health and well-being festival ‘Shiny Happy People’. The network will facilitate sharing of resources between mental health organisations and private wellness practitioners necessary to make the festival happen. It will hold events for the benefit of people at all life stages and mark a place for health on the social, economic and political agenda of Limerick.
Minding Minds Network will ensure that the design principles of all future urban spaces foreground physical and mental wellbeing, for example with the inclusion of meditation spaces and positive affirmations walls with interactive methods through which people may continually share their positive messages. There would be an innovative approach to the design process with a studio drawn from the network to rapid prototype the right space for the right place.