For many people, ‘January blues’ never truly go away and are not limited to one month of the year. Sadly, sometimes, the rigours and demands of life can be too much to bear. Gef caught up with Roisin Cummins who is doing her bit to help those who need it most.
Today is officially ‘Blue Monday’ – the most depressing day of the year. Cash reserves are low, the post-Christmas comedown is very real and you’ve set yourself up for a fall with that New Year resolution. Of course, Ramsey isn’t ready for Batman! What were you thinking?
What Ramsey and the rest of us do need is an injection of positivity. And local lass Roisin Cummins has done just that by starting up a new walking group. This Wednesday, Roisin will be leading a gentle walk and talk as part of the ‘Mental Health Mates’ initiative.
Roisin was inspired to start a support group for people with mental health issues after holding a wonderfully monikered ‘Crafternoon’ for Mind charity group. There, she was overwhelmed with the response from attendees.
“It received such a positive response that lots of people wanted to know if i was going to do any more events like it. It made me realise that there is a need for these sorts of groups on the Island”
The premise is simple: A stroll and a chat; fresh air and simple pleasures. She is keen to stress it’s not for fitness fanatics – this is mellow and leisurely, not a morning Crossfit sesh. Starting at the Park Hotel in Ramsey at 11.30am, the walk is open for all, even little ones if you fancy bringing the buggy along.
Roisin’s effervescence and smiley nature should ensure a lovely time for all and help vanquish those aforementioned January blues. However, beneath that smile, Roisin has had her own struggles. She is candid about her own personal experience of mental health and how it impacts her every day.
“I have been an anxious person ever since I can remember. I always had to have something to worry about. In 2015 my anxiety definitely ramped up a few gears and I found myself in a constant state of sheer panic”.
After 2 years of little progress, Roisin hit her lowest ebb.
“I just couldn’t carry on. I was totally exhausted, I was depressed, lonely and completely at rock bottom. I was convinced I was destined for a life of misery”.
Thankfully, she sought professional help. With a diagnosis of OCD and Anxiety came an acceptance of the long journey that was ahead of her in this continual battle.
“Recovery from mental health issues is not an overnight thing. It’s not a straight road, relapse is part of the process and I’m learning to live with my diagnosis”.
Roisin is clearly passionate about a subject so close to her heart and knows her stuff. She’s got the facts – she informs me that 1 in 4 people in the UK experience a mental health problem each year and the World Health Organisation forecasts that by 2030 depression will be the single leading cause of global burden of disease. As such, she is on a mission to help change people’s attitudes and to help others suffering.
“I take medication for my mental health problem. It still surprises me how adverse people are to taking medications for the likes of anxiety and depression. If you had high blood presume you would take medication for it, so why not for a mental health issue?”
Such self-awareness is in plentiful supply with Roisin. For instance, she’s fully aware not everybody is as comfortable being so frank about their own mental health situation.
“There is absolutely no pressure to talk about your own experience. You can talk about Corrie if you want to! But if you do feel comfortable to open up about yourself then that is also great”.
Not one for resting on her laurels this year, she talks passionately about her newly found love for running. In aid of Mind – the mental health charity – she will be running the Liverpool Half Marathon on Sunday March 10. If you wish to donate, click on the below justgiving link.
There’s no denying the bravery in being so forthcoming with what, for many, is such a private and intrusive subject. Roisin is determined to break down the barriers in the conversation of mental health and as she succinctly summarised, she simply wants people to know they are not alone. It’s a universal message she is conveying and it might be a simple amble round Ramsey town but for someone suffering in silence, it could take them out of their own turmoil and help them see that life is worth living. There’s nothing more uplifting than the message of hope and, thanks to the drive and determination of people like Roisin Cummins, hope will always be in plentiful supply.
If you’d like to find out more about Roisin’s mental health mates walk you can contact her via email [email protected]