On Tuesday 30th April, See Change, Irelands organisation dedicated to ending mental health stigma, officially launched the 7th annual Green Ribbon Campaign in the Mansion House, Dublin.
The Green Ribbon Campaign aims to end the stigma and change people’s attitudes to mental health problems by prompting hundreds of events and thousands of conversations all over Ireland during the month of May each year. The campaign was launched by Hannah Tyrell, Ireland International Rugby player and mental health advocate and the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Nial Ring.
Speaking about the importance of ending mental health stigma, keynote speaker Hannah Tyrell said; “I am honoured to be here today at the launch of the Green Ribbon Campaign. For me, the fear of shame and stigma of dealing with a mental health problem in the past meant that I was reluctant to share what I was going through with anyone or seek help, which led me to a very dark place. We need to create an environment where people can be open about their mental health difficulties and promote a greater understanding and acceptance of mental ill health.”
See Change is a national partnership working to change minds about mental health problems in Ireland. Funded by the HSE National Office of Suicide Prevention, the partnership is made up of over 100 organisations and 60 Ambassadors who work to reduce the stigma associated with mental health problems and challenge discrimination.
Lord Mayor of Dublin, Nial Ring said; “It is so encouraging to witness the Green Ribbon campaign gaining momentum year after year in creating a progressive community driven social movement to end the stigma and discrimination associated with mental health problems. Stigma is a significant problem for people who experience mental ill health and has been recognised as a barrier to recovery Families and communities play a vital part in the recovery process, so we all share a responsibility to talk about mental health and work together to break the stigma.”
Ahead of the event, John Meehan, Head of the HSE’s National Office for Suicide Prevention commented; “Understanding, challenging and reducing the stigma associated with so many aspects of mental health, is a crucial strand of work associated with Connecting for Life, Ireland’s National Strategy to Reduce Suicide. In this respect, we are delighted to support this year’s Green Ribbon Campaign and numerous other stigma reduction activities, delivered by See Change and others working in the area.”
Barbara Louise Brennan, See Change Programme Coordinator adds: “There is an assumption that you need to be an expert to talk about mental health, but the reality is, you don’t! Sometimes the most helpful thing you can do is to let someone know that you are there for them and simply listen. Wear the Green Ribbon and start your conversation. One person can make a difference, you can be the change”.