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Diversity and inclusion

It’s important to talk about your emotions


Cindy O’Shea

Samaritans Irish Regional Director

“I felt cloudy, confused, detached, was crying and miserable… Samaritans give me hope that my circumstances can change… I guess I feel someone’s on my side” said one Samaritans caller.

Life can be tough and at times our emotions can be overwhelming, particularly in work when people are increasingly under pressure to meet deadlines and targets.

There are many ways that someone who is struggling at home or in work can support themselves, including talking through their troubles.

A recent study by the Economic and Social Research Institute found job stress among Irish employees doubled in five years, from 8% in 2010 to 17% in 2015. Workers were more likely to be stressed by emotional demands and exposure to bullying, harassment and mistreatment than their European peers.

Cindy O’Shea, Samaritans Irish Regional Director, says, “It’s important to manage your emotional health, and to look out for others, before you (or they) reach crisis point.

“Some people need extra support at times in their life and that’s nothing to be ashamed of. They could be facing a new difficulty, or may have been struggling to cope for some time. Either way, they may need emotional support to help them through,” she says.

“Unfortunately, some people do not have the support of friends or family they can turn to. Others do, but find that talking to someone neutral can be beneficial. That’s why Samaritans are there.

“For 60 years, people have been talking to us, in their own way, about whatever’s getting to them.

Samaritans provide a 24-hour helpline, email and text service for people who are in distress or struggling to cope. Volunteers answered 625,000 calls in Ireland in 2017.

One in five callers say they feel suicidal

People get in touch for many reasons including job or exam related stress, relationship and family problems, bullying, bereavement, financial worries, depression, anxiety, loneliness and isolation. Only one person in five who calls Samaritans actually say they feel suicidal.

While you can’t really generalise how struggling to cope can make you feel or act, O’Shea says there are signs that you – or a relative, friend or colleague – may be suffering in silence.

Signs of poor emotional wellbeing include:

  • Lacking energy or feeling tired, restless, agitated or tearful
  • Not wanting to talk to or be with people, or avoiding things you usually enjoy
  • Using alcohol or drugs to cope with feelings
  • Finding it hard to manage everyday things

“Many people find talking to someone else is the best way to get help, as you will feel more able to cope with your feelings and are more likely to find a way forward. It just needs to be someone you trust,” O’Shea added.

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