Good evening everyone,
I would like to introduce a website that you may or may not have heard of before. It is called A Lust for Life. This is Niall Breslin’s website for mental health and wellbeing. The musician and The Voice of Ireland mentor, widely known as Bressie, has become an advocate for promoting positive mental health and wants the site to be a place for those suffering to seek help.
A Lust For Life replaces his original site, My 1000 Hours and has professional people giving advice to readers. He set up My 1,000 Hours to help people look after their mental health. The powerful, My 1000 Hours video clip can be shown to students in Religious Education, SPHE and CSPE and is an excellent resource for Mental Health week.You can watch the informative clip here.
“I want A Lust for Life to be a resource for those of you looking to dive deep inwards, exploring aspects of soul, however that might resonate with you, as well looking outwards at the bigger picture, our society, the systems and environments we operate within,” he said. The website features articles, personal stories, inspirational video clips and courses as well as tips and advice from Bressie himself.
Since I was a teenager, I always remember Bressie being very vocal about his own battle with depression and how it affected his own life.
In his new book, Me and My Mate Jeffrey, Bressie talks openly about how his battle with his mental health affected all of his relationships, including those with his bandmates. His book is not only a great read but also a fantastic classroom resource for perhaps reading aloud or for a book club in the school. It is €16.99 and available from all good bookshops.
Bressie spoke of his bandmates very highly in his book and one of my favourite songs from the Blizzards is called Postcards. I love it because it spoke very clearly to me at a very difficult time in my own life.
‘I will be your shining light
And when you fail to catch your breath
You must try and not forget,
That I’m still here
I’m the light that’s surrounding you
Everytime your darkness comes’
Bressie has spoken about his own darkness in the past “I spent almost 50% of my time on this Earth disguising, ignoring and waging war against my mind, which at times seemed hell bent on destroying every relationship, career and passion that I pursued,” he said. Bressie wants to end the stigma surrounding mental illness in Ireland which held him back for so long. “This stigma made it unexplainably difficult to seek the help and support that I no doubt needed and that would have allowed me to cope and manage my mental health illness. That stigma is slowly eroding and it’s vice grip clasp is loosening in society,” he explained.
He hopes A Lust for Life will appeal to everyone and encourage more people to speak out and erase the stigma surrounding mental health “We have a huge range of doctors, clinical psychologists, and people who truly know their stuff writing for us. We have real people telling their real stories.”
I am so honoured and proud to say that I have recently started writing for this website on the issue of Bullying under the Bigger Picture section on the site. Having experienced bullying myself in secondary school, I understand the importance of speaking out and also how hard it is to have the courage to do that and to also come to terms with what is actually happening. It is a fantastic website to show to students and many of the students are highly engaged and want to raise awareness themselves as a result !
I am currently working in a secondary school and it is such a great feeling to be able to write about a sensitive, yet topical issue that not only exists in all schools but also the workplace and other walks of life that you may find yourself in one day. I also have my own page across social media which positively promotes the prevention of bullying and I am grateful to have the support of Dr Mona O Moore and DCU’s Anti Bullying Centre, as well as other blogs, radio stations and various organisations on this. You can find my Anti Bullying Movement Ireland page @AntiBullyingIre on Twitter or on Facebook here.
Bressie has used a number of methods to help regain control over his anxiety and depression in recent years, including cognitive behavioural therapy, exercise and medication (which all feature on the site including courses, information and really great articles!). His story has generated a movement and encouraged so many people, adults, teenagers, teachers, students to break the stigma surrounding mental health and open up about issues that do matter, regardless of how big or small they make seem. He truly is an inspiration to me and his book made me realise that through our own battles, we have a choice to find our own courage through our own strength in the darkest of days.
I decided to feature this website on my blog for many reasons. One is that I feel teachers will benefit from this website and it tackles many issues that come up for teachers in and outside of the classroom time and time again. Also for yourself, to remember the key to a successful work – life balance and to always remember the importance of looking after your mental and physical health as well as your body and soul. Today, on A Lust for Life, you will be happy to hear that, Dr Margaret O Rourke has released an exclusive FREE book for students, on tools for building resilience, health and mental fitness which you can download for yourself or your students here at Life Matters Book.
A Lust for Life covers so many issues in Ireland that are relevant right now and that are very difficult to discuss for many people. Even if you have not been affected by a certain issue on site, then you will know someone who has been – indeed a friend or a student. It is a great classroom resource for students and teachers as well as a lifelong learning resource and the best thing about it is that it is FREE for everyone and easily accessible. It has taken me so long to educate and inform myself on certain issues but I hate to think about where I would be if I didn’t. This site has helped me develop my own Lust for Life and learning to appreciate all of the little things on both my personal and professional journey and I hope others will benefit from it, like I have.
Check out the site and as always, let me know what you think 🙂