KEEPING WELL - MORE DETAILS ON THE FIVE THEMES
1. Keeping Active
With a particular focus on keeping people active during the winter months and being mindful of the challenges posed to that by COVID restrictions, Sport Ireland, in partnership with their funded bodies and National Governing Bodies, Local Authorities and Local Sports Partnerships, has devised a range of projects and initiatives to support the Keep Well campaign. These initiatives will be rolled out over the coming months. The initiatives include:
- Access to facilities for physical activity at a local level for everyone in the community
- A range of programmes delivered by Local Sports Partnership e.g. virtual or restricted 5km runs held in each area, subject to COVID-19 regulations in place at any given time.
- Get Ireland Walking – single mobile app to support widespread uptake of the 21-day walking challenge, supporting walking and general wellness.
- A series of online physical activity videos, including targeted videos for specific parts of the population, such as: active during pregnancy, new mothers, people with disabilities, teenagers, families, older people, adults 30 year old +.
- “Fitline” - a one stop volunteer-led telephone-based motivation line which encourages callers to get more active. This is based on the FitLine model, currently being run by Age and Opportunity (A&O), with a primary focus on older adults. FitLine is a great way to help people who want to feel a bit healthier but just don’t have the time or information on where and how to take that first step. Ongoing follow up support (by telephone) is another element of this initiative.
2. Staying Connected
Local community helpline and national befriending initiative
Isolation of people of all ages is a significant risk during the COVID pandemic, particularly during periods of tight restrictions on movement and social interaction. The Community Call programme was introduced in the spring to provide local helplines through Local Authorities for practical supports, information sharing and befriending. As part of the “Keep Well” campaign, this will be significantly expanded to be proactive with outreach to potentially isolated persons as the main aim.
The Community Forum will oversee at County and City level the coordination of the Gardai, HSE, Local Authorities, An Post, community groups, charities, residents associations, and others in an immediate campaign to reach out to any persons vulnerable to isolation all across the community, regardless of age, gender, nationality or geography. The core objective is to ensure that everybody is given the opportunity to interface with the Community Call assistance programme to receive befriending services, practical supports and more complex supports where necessary. A programme of befriending supports will be developed both at national and local level for persons of all ages. A central component of these initiatives will be the Health & Wellbeing Programme for Older Persons in COVID-19 run by the HSE Health & Wellbeing Team in partnership with Age Friendly Ireland.
A programme of befriending supports will be developed both at national and local level. This will include phone outreach from Community Call centres, access to expertise in the handling of anxiety, stress or mental health issues, alignment with volunteers or local authority personnel for practical physical supports, one to one buddying with volunteers and neighbours, development of remote group chats between neighbours.
A national campaign will be run through Government Information Services to promote Community Call on radio, press and social media, providing the phone numbers and directing people to gov.ie/community call. Local authorities will promote helpline numbers via local channels, including social, press and local radio.
3. Switching off and being creative
A range of initiatives targeting ways for people to switch off and be creative will be rolled out across the coming months, delivered mainly through Local Authorities.
Local Authorities are being supported to offer localised creative initiatives in their areas. With advice from the Creative Ireland Programme Team, Local Authorities will adapt their initiatives to local circumstances and interest in activities such as:
- Communities to engage creatively with historical spaces and places in their locality;
- Live, mobile, pop-up creative entertainment in community and healthcare settings;
- To keep our communities connected through creative reading and writing;
- Creativity around the Christmas Tree;
- Creative engagement using phone, post, local media, digital platforms or social media;
- Creative Photography with Fresh Eyes and
- Utilisation of spaces and places for arts in line with Government guidelines COVID Care Concerts A new campaign from Local Authorities/Libraries and the Creative Ireland Programme is celebrating Irish writers while encouraging everyone to discover the joy of reading during COVID-19. Irish public libraries and the Creative Ireland Programme are reminding everyone that they can ‘Start a new story’ and discover lots of rewarding reads through their library, even while COVID-19 restrictions are in place. Recognising that we might all be looking for a little distraction over the coming winter months, Local Authorities/Libraries and the Creative Ireland Programme are letting everyone know that a wealth of books for all ages and all interests are available through the library, and reading can be an excellent way to relax, escape, boost creative wellbeing or learn something new. Online library services, including free access to eBooks and audiobooks, will continue throughout all stages of the Government’s Living with Covid-19 plan. All library members have access to these services completely free, and anybody can join online at librariesireland.ie/join or by contacting your local library. This campaign is launching at the end of October. Ireland Reads Developed by the Design & Crafts Council Ireland, a series of creative activities and projects will engage the public. The series of creative activities and programme of events is designed to promote well-being and resilience during the COVID-19 crisis. 45 Guilds, Associations, Networks and Societies (GANS) throughout Ireland, with over 2,000 members will be invited to develop creative content for a series of community and online activities. This will include developing workshops to engage young people and adults in home-based making activities, producing a series of process-based short videos that illustrate the skills, materials and talents inherent in the making process and developing community exhibitions & projects.
- Christmas crafts
- Led by public libraries, supported by Healthy Ireland and managed by the Libraries Development Unit in the LGMA, the ‘Ireland Reads’ programme will place a focus on reading for pleasure, escape, mental stimulation and wellbeing. The programme will encourage everyone to experience the joys of reading – and to share their experience - with family, friends, bookclubs, or online. Resources will be made available to provide access to books, both printed and e-books. This initiative will take place in early 2021.
- Rewarding Reads
- An initiative developed by Mobile Music Machine, supported by the Creative Ireland Programme and further rolled out with support from Healthy Ireland, the series involves some of Ireland’s finest classical musicians and opera singers presenting live, outdoor socially distanced concerts in the gardens and grounds of residential care homes and hospital settings across Ireland. The concerts follow all HSE guidelines around social distancing. Where possible, residents sit outside to enjoy the concert, or listen through open windows. Concerts are performed under an enclosed marquee and also have the option to feed sound into the care homes via speakers. Portable heating is used to enable performers to perform outside during the winter months. Clearance has been provided by the HSE to perform these concerts at and up to level 4 restrictions.
4. Eating well
Bord Bia is supporting Healthy Ireland on the new Government Resilience & Wellbeing Campaign by promoting and showcasing a range of easy to prepare nutritional and seasonal recipes. Their winter meal ideas are centred around a healthy and balanced diet incorporating local, quality assured meat, dairy, fruit and vegetables. In addition, Bord Bia will highlight top tips on getting your garden ready for spring, the ideal outdoor activity for people of all ages. Through their new online gardening website pages and popular Bloom social media platforms, they will provide inspiration on how to look after your outdoor space in the winter months to ensure it delivers a bountiful colourful display in the spring.
Safefood START campaign
The next phase of the START campaign will begin on Monday, 2nd November, with a focus on making the most of family time. The onset of Covid-19 has fundamentally changed how families are living their lives. This new social environment is reflected in the START campaign activity this year. The next phase of the campaign has taken into account research conducted with parents. These insights have helped inform the next phase of the campaign, which is focussed on reframing family time and re-introducing healthier habits at home. The START web site (www.makeastart.ie) provides clear signposting to resources to help parents adopt healthy routines.
Grow it Forward
A programme of activities to support local “Grow it Yourself” initiatives is planned for early 2021 linked with the network of libraries around the country. This programme provides an opportunity for people, young and old, to get outside, grow some food whilst being physically active and gain a greater understanding of the connection between our health and the food we eat, as well as developing community spirit. A partnership with local government will empower participants to grow food using the starter growing kit and then to share seeds, seedlings, plants, produce and knowledge with 10 others, collectively impacting half a million people in Ireland. By growing it forward, they develop healthier and more sustainable food choices while staying connected with their family, friends, neighbours and communities. GIY will recruit and engage participants, providing them with the support and challenges they need to grow it forward successfully over a 6-month period, running from February to July.
5. Minding your mood
All of the themes in the campaign will help people to mind their mood through challenging times. However, some people will need extra help and support for their wellbeing and their mental health due to the impact of COVID on people’s lives, their families, jobs or circumstances, and the impact of restrictions. The campaign offers good advice and information on how to support your mental wellbeing and where to go if you or someone close to you needs extra help and support.
HSE: Your Mental Health
The HSE’s yourmentalhealth.ie website is the starting point for good advice on your mental health, and for information on the wide range of services and supports that are available for people in Ireland, from the health service, from your GP, and from a range of partner and funded organisations. Supports are available on the phone, via SMS or text services and through online counselling and support.
The HSE’s Health and Wellbeing team are launching a new, free, online mental health and wellbeing programme called Minding Your Wellbeing. This evidenced based programme, focusing on the promotion of mental wellbeing, has been adapted from a face-to-face programme into a series of online videos for the public at this time. The programme consists of 5 video sessions, each 20 minutes, accessed through yourmentalhealth.ie. The content is focused on practicing self-care, understanding our thoughts, exploring emotions, building positive relationships and improving our resilience.
This is the first time that HSE Health and Wellbeing has developed a programme focused on positive mental health for the public delivered in this way. With an increasing need for, and use of, online supports, and a move away from face-to-face programmes, it is hoped that online programmes such as this will provide access and engagement for many people who wish to learn about how they can support their own mental wellbeing. While people are being encouraged to complete all the sessions, the sessions are available to access 24/7, the message is to try one and progress from there.
Child and Young People’s Services
Children and Young Peoples’ Services Committees (CYPSC) are county-level committees that bring together the main statutory, community and voluntary providers of services to children and young people aged 0-24 years. With a particular focus on child and youth mental health, the Child and Young People’s Services Committees have developed a series of initiatives, which will be delivered locally, over the winter months and into spring 2021.
- Youth-friendly signposting to existing local services and activities including local mental health supports for children and young people. (12-24 years)
- Strengthened capacity of existing local services to safely reach out to children and young people in their county. (10-24 years)
- Augmented programming capacity of existing local services to engage children and young people safely in positive, mood enhancing activities outside of school hours and during holiday periods. (8-15 years)
- Augmented programming capacity of existing local services to engage families in positive mood enhancing activities particularly on weekends and during holiday periods. (0-12 years)