In a bid to ensure better mental health during the Covid-19 pandemic, Northern Ireland’s Interim Mental Health Champion, Professor Siobhan O’Neill, launched a campaign in her local community pharmacy on Monday (April 19).

The initiative is part of a ‘Living Well’ service that provides information and advice to customers on public health issues in over 500 pharmacies across Northern Ireland.

The campaign entitled, ‘How Are You Feeling?’ will run until the end of May.

It is delivered in partnership with the Public Health Agency (PHA), Community Pharmacy NI (CPNI), the Department of Health (DoH), and the Health and Social Care Board (HSCB).

By asking the question ‘How are you feeling?’, the campaign urges people to think about their mental health, and take the five steps to wellbeing.

Community pharmacies across Northern Ireland have taken delivery of posters and information booklets, which are free to members of the public.

The booklet is packed with lots of activities and ideas of how to build ‘Take 5’ into everyday life, as well as providing information on services that can provide help and support, both online and in the local community.

The ‘Take 5 steps to Wellbeing’ are Connect; Be Active; Take Notice; Keep Learning and Give.

One of the key aspects of the campaign is to encourage pharmacists to put people in touch with local networks and services in their community that can provide support based on their individual needs.

Gerard Green, chief executive at Community Pharmacy NI, said: “Community pharmacies are at the heart of our local communities with the public recognising pharmacists as trusted healthcare professionals. This makes community pharmacy the ideal platform to help encourage people to look after their mental health by engaging in initiatives such as ‘Take 5 steps to wellbeing’.”

Patrick McCallion from LloydsPharmacy said: “LloydsPharmacy is delighted to be taking part in the Living Well campaign. “How are you feeling?”,  is a question we ask many of our customers every day and some have certainly been struggling over these past few months with the impact of the pandemic on their mental wellbeing. We are pleased we can provide them with practical advice around how to use ‘Take 5 Steps’ in their daily lives and signpost them to information and support in our local area.”

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