Unwind Your Mind is a blog by Marie Duffy which discusses all things mental health. Marie is a mental health advocate and blogger who is interested in challenging mental health stigma where she sees it. She has been an advisor to the National centre for Youth Mental Health in Ireland, Headstrong (now Jigsaw) and has spoken at many conferences both in Ireland and abroad. She is a big believer is service user participation both in the design and delivery of mental health services.
Why a blog?
So this blog has been around for a while. I originally started in 2009 not long after I had graduated from college and the idea for a mental health blog had been in my mind for a long long time.
I felt that there was a real need for a blog/website that was filled with practical tips on how people could help manage their mental health. (Both the positive elements and the negative aspects). i didn’t feel there was really anything at the time.
I really wanted to spread the idea that we could all do something really practical every day to help maintain positive mental health. I really loved the concept of a 5 – a- day for our physical health. it seemed like such an easy concept that the world had grasped onto. Why couldn’t we have a similar concept for our mental health? So I designed the blog around the idea that if we adopted a similar idea of a 5-a-day for your mental health. At the time I did a bit of research online and found out about research that had just been commissioned the year before but the New Economics Foundation (NEF) in London. This research gave five specific recommendations of things to do that would improve your mental health. However, I simply asked people to come up with their own 5 things that made them feel good, and that they could try to practice daily.
I started sharing the research on the blog, but later when it was adopted by other organisations I felt like I needed a ‘new’ message. One that was solely mine. I also interviewed many people around Ireland for their ‘5-a-day’.
You can also watch the Ditch The Monkey videos by SpunOut.ie which were made during the time I was editor there. One of them below is Be Aware, which asks you to be conscious of your thoughts and how they can impact your mood.
Unfortunately, despite having lots of great intentions for the Unwind Your Mind blog- when I went to work for SpunOut.ie in 2012, it really was neglected. I also received a small amount of Funding from Headstrong (Now Jigsaw) and 02 Think Big to build a custom website. That website has a .ie domain which was great and ran between 2011 and 2016- but I found it really difficult to direct traffic towards it. but then again I didn’t have lots of time to invest in the website so much of that was my fault.
I was sick in 2016 and in hospital, and the hosting was never paid for the site and my website was taken down and I lost a lot of what was on it. Frustrating but I took it as a sign for a new start.
Despite not really posting that much on the blog- I have had an active Unwind Your Mind Facebook page which currently has almost 4,500 likes.
Over the past month I have started posting again on this blog, and hope to continue for 2018.