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Take 5 steps to boost your emotional and mental wellbeing this winter

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Community Pharmacies across Northern Ireland are encouraging people to take care of their mental health as they do for their physical health.

The pharmacies, involved in Living Well service, are promoting the ‘Take 5’ approach to building healthy habits into everyday life to help people boost their emotional and mental wellbeing this winter.

Offered in over 500 pharmacies across the country, Living Well is a community-based pharmacy service that provides key public health messages and advice. It is jointly delivered by the Public Health Agency (PHA), Community Pharmacy NI, and the Department of Health.

Fiona Teague, Regional Lead for Mental Health and Emotional Wellbeing at PHA, said: “Looking after your mental health should be every bit as important as your physical health.

“The Take 5 Steps are a great way to make sure you’re checking in with yourself and taking time for that little bit of self-care that can help you to feel better.

“They cover a range of aspects crucial to your emotional wellbeing and are good for helping people to find balance, build resilience and boost mental health and wellbeing.”

The five steps to mental wellbeing are:

  1. Connect
  2. Keep learning
  3. Be active
  4. Take notice
  5. Give

Talking about this campaign, Niall Falls, community pharmacist from Falls Pharmacy in Cookstown, said: “Starting that conversation about someone’s mental health is so important and our role at the heart of communities allows us to make those connections.

“We also have other more specialist resources that we can signpost to, for those that are feeling low or feel they might benefit from further help.”

According to World Health Organization (WHO), the number of people living with anxiety and depressive disorders (the most common mental disorders) have increased significantly after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Over 300 million people were living with an anxiety disorder in 2019, including 58 million children and adolescents (1).

In 2019, one in every eight people or 970 million people around the world were living with a mental disorder, mostly affected by anxiety (301 million) and depression (280 million).

WHO estimated a 26 per cent and 28 per cent rise respectively for anxiety and major depressive disorders in just one year after the pandemic.

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