Helping you get through tough times

My name is Saoirse and mental health musings

As part of the First Fortnight festival, I went along to see “My name is Saoirse” in Smock Alley.

my name is saoirseIt was a one-woman show with an incredible performance from Eva O’Connor and a rollercoaster of laughs and tragedy, underpinned by loss and grief.

Without giving away any spoilers, as it’s sure to get another run, Saoirse brought you on her journey of growing up and negotiating relationships, good ones and bad ones.

Things happen that make her grow up quicker than she wants to, all of them compounding a sense of sadness and isolation.

Mental health attitudes

As it was on for a mental health festival, they were handing out questionnaires before the play to get an idea of people’s attitudes to mental health.

The questions were like: Have you or anyone you know ever experienced a mental health problem? Do you believe anyone could experience a mental health problem?

Relevance

Coming out of the play, a friend of mine said “I didn’t get the relevance to mental health, and so I put that in the comments”.

Well, mind blown. Working in a mental health organisation, and talking and reading about it every day, comments like this, take me surprise, still.

I went on a bit of a rant about mental health being everything, and clearly the themes of loss and relationships are mental health. He was having none of it.

“It wasn’t about depression”, he said. Well, there you have it. The term mental health is often seen as synonymous with depression.

Positive mental health

No matter how much more open people are these days about mental health, it is often still put in a box. A negative, depression box. The concept of positive health has passed some people by.

If we don’t actively look after our mental health, we’re not able to deal with the blows that life can throw us. Having a good sense of wellbeing strengthens your resilience and your ability to self-manage situations.

Well done to First Fortnight putting on a play that wasn’t obviously about mental health and continuing to challenge widely held beliefs.

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