Kerry Lifeline

May is Green Ribbon Month


For the past five years there has been an awareness campaign to change minds around mental health. There are many campaigns with different coloured ribbons across the globe. This green ribbon campaign is aimed at starting the conversation around the stigma attached to Mental Health issues.  What do we mean by stigma?  It is when we hold an attitude or feeling that is judgemental about a circumstance or a quality or a person.  In fact a definition actually uses Mental Health as an example of stigma, so we know that it is really an issue so close to people’s lived experience of how they have felt judged or hurt by having any mental health issues. Otherwise why would there need to be a campaign to counter-act the judgements people have about someone who may be dealing with mental health problems.

As a counselling centre we are witness to some clients often struggling with other peoples view or judgements around them seeking help for mental health issues. It has often taken great courage to ask for help, and it becomes really important for the person’s extended family to support without judgement.

The Green Ribbon campaign, along with others like “it’s Ok to not be OK’ have really begun to change attitudes to asking for help and reducing Stigma with Mental Health. If you would like more information the website has more information.

Some guidelines from the website are

You don’t need to be an expert to start talking about mental health or have all the answers. Sometimes the most helpful thing you can do is to let someone know that you are there for him or her and simply listen.

  • Talk, but listen too: Simply being there will mean a lot.
  • Take your lead from the person: As a first step, ask them how best you can help.
  • Avoid the clichés: Phrases like ‘Cheer up’, ‘I’m sure it’ll pass’ and ‘Pull yourself together’ definitely won’t help – Being open minded, non-judgemental and listening will.
  • Keep in touch: There are lots of small ways of showing support – Send a text or just ask someone how they are doing.

So in the this month of Spring moving towards a green summer, grab a ribbon and ‘Start the conversation’. Every single person can make a difference by changing attitudes to mental health in the same way as we would to someone having any medical issue, we would have empathy, concern and support. Not judgement or stigma. Asking for help shows courage, not weakness. We need to value help-seeking behaviour, especially for men and boys.

SouthWest Counselling Centre Killarney provides affordable professional counselling to children, adolescents, adults and couples – both at its Killarney Centre (Lewis Road) and at Kenmare Family Centre.

To make an appointment call 064 6636416/064 66364100

SouthWest Counselling Centre is a not-for-profit organization. All funds raised through fundraising are for service provision