Public encouraged to Take 5 during Mental Health Awareness Week

Derry City and Strabane District Council is encouraging everyone to remember the importance of looking after your mental health as part of Mental Health Awareness Week.

The week, which is hosted by the Mental Health Foundation, is in its 22nd year and runs from 9-15 May.

This year, the theme for the week is ‘Loneliness’. Across the country, people will be reflecting on loneliness and how it impacts our mental health. Long-term loneliness is closely linked to mental health problems such as depression and anxiety.


The theme complements Derry City and Strabane District Council’s recently launched Age Friendly campaign to #Reconnectagain, which is encouraging people to reconnect with each other by having a chat, meeting for a cup of tea, getting outdoors, and even learning a new skill.

Ciara Burke, DCSDC Age Friendly Co-ordinator, said: “We can’t underestimate the importance of everyone looking after their mental health, particularly as we grow older. Most of us know when we are mentally and physically well, but sometimes we need a little extra help to keep well. We are encouraging everyone to remember the Take 5 message including Be Active, Give, Connect, Keep Learning, and Take Notice.

“Following a recent visit to Foyle U3A it was encouraging the see the wealth of programmes and activities available across our community to help address loneliness and improve our overall health and well-being.”

Christine O’Kane, Manager at Foyle U3A, added: “U3A Foyle's own Tea Dancers welcomed Council’s Age Friendly Co-ordinator Ciara to U3A and got their picture taken to raise awareness of the benefits of getting out and about and enjoying yourself with friends. The Tea Dancers in U3A Foyle keep fit and healthy and take time out every week for a dance, a chat, and a catch up with friends.”

Mark Rowland Chief Executive of the Mental Health Foundation said: “We hope this year’s theme of loneliness will strike a chord with many of us who felt lonely and struggled throughout the Covid pandemic.

“Millions of us experience loneliness from time to time. We know that some people are at higher risk of experiencing loneliness and the evidence shows the longer we feel lonely, the more we are at risk of mental health problems.

“Loneliness deserves more attention and we’re calling on everyone who has struggled as a result of being lonely to share their experiences. We must work together - as individuals, as a society and through government policy - to reduce loneliness and prevent mental health problems by investing in welcoming, social spaces and new community initiatives.”

For more information on joining U3A Foyle and all activities happening contact Christine on 7186 0123 or email info@u3afoyle.com or for any Council Age Friendly related enquires call 028 7125 3253 or email agefriendly@derrystrabane.com



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