Benefact Trust launch ‘Brighter Lives’ thematic grants programme

Benefact Trust have launched a thematic grants programme, ‘Brighter Lives’ focused on helping churches and Christian charities across the UK and Ireland to provide increased mental health support for people and communities most in need.

The Brighter Lives programme covers three main project areas:
Supporting existing or emerging specialist services provided by churches and Christian charities for people struggling with mental health issues. Focus is on the most vulnerable who may struggle to access support elsewhere. For example, counselling or similar therapeutic services, which could be delivered in-person, online or by phone.
  • Enabling Christian organisations to train, equip and resource other churches and Christian charities to provide:
    • Enhanced mental health awareness and /or mental health first aid
    • Appropriate mental health and wellbeing support groups and services
    • Services provided should demonstrate reach/impact across a local area, regionally or nationally
  • Programmes to support the personal mental health and wellbeing of clergy and other church leaders/workers who may be suffering, particularly post-pandemic.

More information can be found here:

Church of Ireland announces 74 mental health projects on World Mental Health Day 2022

To mark World Mental Health Day 2022, the Church of Ireland is delighted to announce a series of seed funding projects that will be taking place across the island.  A total of 74 projects have received funding, through the MindMatters COI project, thanks to the generous sponsorship of Benefact Trust.  The projects build on initial research carried out by MindMatters COI and a programme of mental health awareness training, in which over 400 members of the clergy and lay people participated.

These projects are spread across all 11 dioceses of the Church and include:

  • Glendermott Community Garden Project, Londonderry

Developing a community garden where people can come to unwind, relax and interact. The garden is being developed by a team of volunteers, helping to reduce social isolation and promoting mental health. Once fully established, the garden will provide members of the community with fresh fruit and vegetables, which will help local people in the light of the escalating cost of living.

  • Voices of Hope: Songs of Healing, Limerick

Using the community choir model to organise and host ‘gently liturgical’ musical events. Participation in a casual choir allows the expression of emotions and can help build confidence and resilience. Music and singing have also been shown to promote mental health in other ways, such as improving cognitive performance, managing stress, improving mood and memory, and may reduce symptoms of depression.

  • Marching to a Different Tune, Armagh

This project is working with the Southern Health and Social Care Trust to train a team of ‘Take 5’ trainers and ambassadors. This team will then deliver the Take 5 initiative to marching bands throughout Northern Ireland, with a particular emphasis on young men in rural areas – a group that is particularly hard to reach.  The Take 5 steps are to connect, be active, take notice, keep learning, and give.

  • An Oasis by the Sea – A Retreat in Daily Life, Waterford

A series of short retreats aimed at reducing feelings of burnout, stress, isolation and loneliness. Participants can avail of a place for spiritual and mental rest, renewal and restoration. The retreats will be led by a combination of mental health practitioners, chaplains and spiritual directors, with participants also having time for group discussions and personal reflection.

The launch of these projects marks the beginning of the third year of MindMatters COI. The projects build on initial research carried out by MindMatters COI and a programme of mental health awareness training, in which over 400 members of the clergy and lay people participated, over the last 12 months.

Archbishop John McDowell, Primate of All Ireland, and Bishop Pat Storey, Chair of MindMatters, welcome the practical actions being taken to improve positive mental health across the island.  The experiences and lessons learned from the projects will be discussed at the MindMatters all–island conference which will take place in Dublin on Friday, 20th October 2023. The conference, which will be addressed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Revd Justin Welby, will also provide an opportunity to consider the future direction of mental health initiatives within the Church of Ireland.

Andrew Bass, Grants Officer for Benefact Trust, said: “It is fantastic to see that so many amazing and varied projects have received funding through the seed funding initiative. It shows that there are positive actions going on in the Church of Ireland to address mental health needs, and it’s encouraging that the projects represent all dioceses.  We’re privileged to fund MindMatters COI and the incredible work it’s doing to promote positive mental health within the church and the wider community.”

Five Ways to Wellbeing Workshops (Free)

The Five Ways to Wellbeing are simple actions to practice each day to maintain or improve our mental health and wellbeing. These evidence-based actions were developed by The New Economics Foundation. Their project examined research from across the world on proven actions that can help us to feel good and function well.

Mental Health Ireland have 5 Ways to Wellbeing Workshops scheduled across October. The workshops are open to all and online and in-person options are available. Check out the dates & times and register online for a FREE workshop here

Suicide Prevention Day

World Suicide Prevention Awareness Day was September 10th and suicide, its causes, awareness around it, and its prevention are observed on this day and during the month of September.

If you or someone you know is struggling or in crisis, help is available.

Get to know what mental health supports and services are available and tell more people about them. Speak with a GP about what might be available locally. Tell your family, your friends, your colleagues – you never know when someone might need them. Many are open 24/7 and you can make contact in different ways, for example:

  • on the phone – Samaritans, visit or freephone 116 123
  • by text message – Text50808, text HELLO to 50808
  • online – MyMind, visit
  • face-to-face – Pieta, visit or freephone 1800 247 247



Green Ribbon campaign launches today

The 2022 Green Ribbon campaign launches today! Wearing the Green Ribbon shows that you are open to having a discussion about mental health. The MindMatters COI team are delighted to have received our Green Ribbons.

Pick up your FREE Green Ribbon at participating Boots stores, Irish Rail stations, eir stores & AIB branches and wear it to show you’re open to having positive conversations about mental health.

Psychiatrists call for ‘radical overhaul’ of mental health services in Ireland

The College of Psychiatrists of Ireland has called for a “radical overhaul” of mental health services in Ireland as an urgent priority, especially for children and adolescents, the College of Psychiatrists of Ireland has said.

There is a crisis across the entire psychiatric system including in child services, prisons and mental health beds with lengthy waiting lists and lack of funding, leaving the provision of services in a “dire state”, president of the College of Psychiatrists of Ireland Dr William Flannery has said.

The current waiting lists for children and adults in need of urgent care has been described as “unacceptable” and  the provision of mental health services for prisoners as “inadequate”. It also said that there is a significant recruitment and retention crisis among doctors.

The Irish College of Psychiatrists of Ireland has called for the urgent reforms to the entire mental health system.

The CPsychI press statement was published on 22 August 2022. Read in full via PDF here.



10th Annual Green Ribbon campaign Dublin Launch

See Change, Ireland’s national programme, dedicated to ending mental health stigma and discrimination, are launching their 10th annual Green Ribbon campaign across Ireland in September 2022.

The Green Ribbon campaign aims to get as many people as possible talking about mental health to help end stigma and discrimination. The theme for Green Ribbon 2022 is shame and our key message this year is that there is no shame in having a mental health difficulty.

To kickstart this year’s campaign, Sea Change are hosting their official launch, in Smock Alley in Dublin on Thursday 1st September, with a fantastic line up of speakers including:

  • Welcome by Shine CEO, Nicola Byrne
  • Lord Mayor of Dublin, Caroline Conroy
  • Minister for Mental Health and Older People, Mary Butler
  • Dr Malie Coyne, Clinical Psychologist
  • Guadalupe Morales Cano, Director of Fundación Mundo Bipolar (Spain) and member of the Global Anti Stigma Alliance (GASA)
  • Bernadette Crawford, See Change Ambassador

For more information and to register for the event, click here.

Free online Stress Control classes

HSE Health and Wellbeing are offering a free online Stress Control programme. Stress Control is an evidence-based programme that teaches you practical skills to deal with stress.

The programme helps participants recognise the signs of stress. It covers topics including how stress affects our bodies and our thoughts. It teaches skills to overcome panicky feelings and tips to getting a good night’s sleep.

The online sessions are presented by Dr Jim White, an internationally recognised expert in stress management who has teamed up with the HSE. He works with the EU to develop mental health services across Europe using interventions, including Stress Control.

The dates of the upcoming Stress Control online courses can be found here: Dates – Stress Control. 





Aware seeking support line volunteers

Aware, an Irish mental health charity supporting people affected by depression and bipolar disorder, are seeking to recruit volunteers aged 21 and over for its support line.

Aware support line manager, Lauren Smith, said that the plea was being made due to a significant increase in calls to the free phone line during the pandemic.

Stephen McBride, director of services at Aware, said that people choose to volunteer for a variety of reasons.

“For some, it offers the chance to give something back and to make a difference. For others, it provides an opportunity to develop new skills or build on existing experience and knowledge.”

Information about Aware’s volunteer programme can be found here: