THIS year’s newly crowned Miss Kildare 2019 hopes to use her platform as an opportunity to raise awareness around the importance of positive mental health.
Naomi Molloy, 23, is working with Mental Health Ireland and SeeChange to enact a change in how Irish people look after their mental health. She has even brought her employers, O’Brien Fine Foods (Brady’s Family Ham) in Timahoe, Naas, to work closely with her and SeeChange to help support her campaign.
She will also be working with other charities such as the Variety Children’s Charity of Ireland and The Jack and Jill Foundation over the coming weeks.
Speaking on her desire to raise awareness around mental health issues, Naomi said: “Mental Health Awareness has always been a cause very close to my heart. There is no main demographic I am targeting, I will be working with friends, family, the workplace and the younger generation over the next few weeks.
“My main focus was to try and target all age groups, as it affects people for different reasons at different ages.”
Naomi is very vocal in her belief that mental health stigma needs to be eliminated. “We have a very long way to go. The stubborn stigma around mental health is still alarming in Ireland. Mental health affects thousands of people across Ireland, one in four people will be affected by mental health as well as their friends, families and work colleagues. A worrying figure of 60% of Irish people view seeking help as a way of personal failure.”
As for how social media usage can have a positive or negative affect on mental health, Naomi explained that, in her opinion: “It’s difficult to answer. Social media can influence a positive change to mental health; it offers many support mechanisms. The internet and social media can inform and empower people with mental health problems.
“However, there is also the other side that internet use may be linked to anxiety and affect your sleep pattern etc. It’s very important that we draw boundaries for social media use, and this will differ with each person.”
Naomi also offered the following advice for those suffering from mental health issues, saying: “I can’t answer this for everyone, as each and every person has a different story and is effected in different ways, but sleep is key. Sleep allows our body and mind to recover each day. Exercise, 3-4 days a week is positive to the mind. Develop a routine, set goals for yourself and manage your diet.”
She added: “I’d also advise finding a relaxation technique that suits you this could be anything from a phone call to friend, a night of Netflix, going out for your favourite food – it’s so important to find that happy place even for a few minutes”.
Naomi is originally from Donegal, and moved to Celbridge, about a year ago. The youngest sibling in her family, she studied Applied Food Science and Business Management at St. Angela’s College in Sligo, and describes herself as “a very outgoing young person. I love keeping fit, cooking, baking, socialising and travelling”!
Naomi has received an overwhelming amount of support from the people of Kildare and Donegal, saying: “It really is the opportunity of a lifetime, and I am enjoying every minute of it!”
“What I like so much about Kildare is definitely the people, they remind me of Donegal people. They’re all very friendly. As soon as I moved to Kildare, I was made to feel at home. Everyone was so welcoming.”
Naomi’s representation as Miss Kildare 2019 has earned her a place in the upcoming Miss Ireland competition, which will be held in The Helix on 14 September.
“My family, including my mother, father, and two older sisters, are very proud of my achievement as Miss Kildare 2019. The support over the past few weeks has been incredible from both Donegal and Kildare.”
Anyone wishing to enquire about mental health awareness and stigma prevention can do so by emailing Mental Health Ireland at [email protected], and by calling them at 01 284 1166.
Further information can be found by emailing SeeChange at [email protected] and by calling them at 01 541 3715.