Wednesday, 10 February 2021

Questions (852)

Aindrias Moynihan


852. Deputy Aindrias Moynihan asked the Minister for Health the measures and initiatives he has taken to support well-being during Covid-19. [6973/21]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

Since early 2018, Healthy Ireland national communications campaigns have highlighted key messages around eating well, being physically active and minding our mental wellbeing. The current campaign, ‘Keep Well’, promotes resilience and positive physical and mental health and wellbeing in the context of the current Covid-19 pandemic.

Sláintecare has provided €7m to support the delivery of initiatives and support services, working with a range of partners including the HSE, Local Authorities, Children’s and Young People’s Services Committees, Sport Ireland, the Creative Ireland Programme, Libraries Ireland and Bord Bia.

The campaign is focused on five main themes. These are:

Keeping active and being outdoors. Physical activity can be really helpful in improving mood and reducing anxiety, in addition to keeping us all fit and healthy. Sport Ireland is leading a series of initiatives to support us in keeping active and to exercise within our own local areas and within social distancing guidelines. in addition, sporting organisations and clubs have developed ways to support local communities.

Staying connected with people safely, as addressing isolation, supporting volunteerism and initiatives that support person-to-person connection are vital to our well-being.

Earlier in the year saw the launch of the Community Call service, which aimed to provide supports to vulnerable groups. This was recently expanded, with Local Authorities supported to provide a local community helpline and befriending service.

Working with partner organisations, including An Garda Síochána, NGOs and Volunteer Ireland, there is a particular emphasis on identifying and supporting those most at risk of isolation.

Switching off and being creative or learning something new, getting back to nature and finding ways to relax can also be really beneficial for building resilience and general wellbeing. An example of this is The Design and Craft Council of Ireland’s recently launched range of initiatives involving craftspeople and makers across the country as part of a nationwide campaign.

Local Authorities and libraries, with involvement from Creative Ireland, and working with partners at national and local level, have developed and are providing a range of initiatives to support individual and community creativity in the arts, crafting, culture and heritage.

Eating well. By nourishing our bodies and minds, we can develop a better connection between the food we eat and how we feel and positively impact our physical and mental well-being.

Bord Bia are providing information and resources to support healthy eating over these months. In the coming months, a major initiative will commence to support more people to grow their own food, which will help to forge greater connections between community networks.

Minding your mood. Under this theme, people are being equipped with information on where to go if they need support. This will also be linked with the local community helpline to ensure that people can access the help they need.

The HSE have launched a series of “Minding Your Wellbeing” online videos, which provides an opportunity for people to learn more about key elements of mental wellbeing such as mindfulness, gratitude, self-care and resilience.

The Keep Well campaign is currently expected to run until March 2021, and Healthy Ireland campaigns will continue to support key Healthy Ireland outcomes; healthy eating, obesity reduction, increased levels of physical activity and positive mental health.

Future campaigns will, in addition, work with partners to support the wider determinants of health, the key themes in the forthcoming Healthy Ireland Strategy and the evolving national response to the Covid-19 pandemic.