14 March 2023
By Elaine Murphy
Asking this small question and having one conversation can make a big difference in someone’s life.
Hello, How Are You? is a national campaign about connection and engaging in open conversations about mental health.
On March 30th, the Hello campaign will invite communities in County Cork to say Hello and ask the question ‘How Are You?’ in a meaningful way.
Mental Health Ireland has teamed up with Iarnród Éireann to invite the nation to say Hello, and ask How Are You? with meaning this March 30th.
Now in its second year, the national Hello, How Are You? campaign highlights the importance of staying connected, helps tackle loneliness, creates a sense of belonging and builds relationships. It also encourages early help-seeking through reliable information on mental health support services and signposting.
Findings from a recent survey (December 2022) conducted by Behaviour and Attitudes on behalf of Mental Health Ireland showed that 92% of people are comfortable having conversation with friends about worries. However, 21% of people are not confident in knowing how to support friends with worries. The Hello, How Are You campaign speaks to this by offering support, steps and resources that help with starting and having these more difficult conversations. See full survey here: https://hellohowareyou.info/about/#impact-and-benefits
There are so many ways to slow down and genuinely engage with a family member, friend or even a stranger. You don’t need to be an expert to have a meaningful conversation. By using the HELLO Steps you can feel supported in asking the question. Let’s make saying Hello and asking How Are You? an everyday question that keeps us connected.
H: Say Hello
E: Engage with the person
L: Listen to them
L: Learn about them and what they might be saying
O: Give them time to talk and to explore options
For free Hello resources, toolkits and all the information you need in different languages, head to www.hellohowareyou.info/resources
On Thursday, March 30th, there will be Hello, How Are You? events and volunteers all over the country. From coffee mornings to fundraising challenges, there’s lots of ways for communities, schools and workplaces to get involved with the campaign this year.
This year, Iarnród Éireann is supporting the mental health campaign with Hello champions and volunteers at Heuston (Dublin), Cork (Kent) and Galway (Ceannt) stations on March 30th and Iarnród Éireann Wellbeing Champions leading Hello events running across the country.
Jo Donohoe, Mental Health Promotion Manager, Mental Health Ireland: “Last year, the first year of Hello campaign, we were blown away by the level of engagement across the country. This year, partnering with Iarnród Éireann will help us elevate the campaign to bring it to every community in Ireland. Hello, How Are You? is all about connecting as is Iarnród Éireann which is why this partnership is a great fit.
“On March 30th, we are inviting organisations, schools, workplaces and individuals to say Hello and ask How Are You? From coffee mornings to sharing information, getting out for a walk and chat, or even simply picking up the phone, there’s so many ways to connect and celebrate this campaign. We are a nation of great talkers and this campaign offers the tools to ask the question ‘How Are You?’ with confidence and meaning and really listen to the answer.”
Sharon Daly, Progamme Manager, Health and Wellbeing with Iarnród Éireann: “We, at Iarnród Éireann are delighted to be involved with Mental Health Ireland on this great campaign. Sometimes the smallest gestures can have the biggest results, so by simply asking someone how they are, you may start a conversation that will lead to positive outcomes for those that may be struggling. Myself and the company’s Wellbeing Champions and the organisation as a whole wants to promote positive conversations on mental health.”
Minister for Mental Health and Older People, Mary Butler TD: “We know there are many mental health benefits to making social connections and having a good support system around us, however, taking that first step in starting a simple conversation can be daunting at times. It can also be difficult to find the right words to support a friend, loved one or colleague going through a tough time. The Hello, How Are You? campaign encourages open conversations about our mental health, and gives the tool we need to do so. It’s about taking the time to mend the social connections lost in recent years and to learn how to support each other. If we really ask and we really listen, this could have a massive impact on someone.”
About Mental Health Ireland
Mental Health Ireland’s aim is to promote and enhance mental health, wellbeing and recovery for all individuals and communities as well as supporting people with lived experience of mental health challenges and their supporters and family members in their recovery. Mental Health Ireland Development Officers across the country who link with the network of Mental Health Associations, volunteers and community groups, promoting mental health and supporting recovery in their communities. Mental Health Ireland are now also the employer of people working in recovery education and peer led community services across the country. www.mentalhealthireland.ie For more information on Hello, How Are You? visit www.HelloHowAreYou.info