The Green Ribbon Campaign 2017

Changing minds about mental health – one conversation at a time

Written by Conor McCreesh


The Green Ribbon campaign was launched in Mansion House, Dawson St, Dublin 2 by See Change on the 27/04/17 for their 5th annual time to get people talking about mental health across Ireland. The minister for Mental Health and Older People Helen McEntee and Lord Mayor of Dublin Brendan Carr were there to promote a nationwide conversation about mental health. Helen McEntee said, “I’m absolutely delighted to be here this evening to officially launch, and to help you launch this year’s national Green Ribbon Campaign. A campaign that essentially aims at raising the conversation around mental health, encouraging people to talk about mental health, but most importantly as well it aims at challenging the stigma we still face when it comes to mental health.”

The Green Ribbon campaign was funded by the Health Service Executive (HSE) to promote hundreds of events and conversations in the aim to change minds about mental health all over Ireland during the month of May each year. Between now and the end of May 500,000 free Green Ribbons will be sent out to communities, workplaces, schools and colleges all over Ireland.

Research funded by the National Office for Suicide Prevention, conducted by Kantar Milward Brown on behalf of See Change, showed that almost 4 in 10 people in Ireland would conceal they have a mental health difficulty from family, friends and colleagues. This is according to a new nationally representative omnibus survey of 977 people aged 18+.

The research also showed:

  • 38% of people would conceal if they had a mental health difficulty from family, friends and colleagues.
  • 55% of people said they would be willing to live with someone with a mental health difficulty.
  • 66% of people said they would be willing to work with someone with a mental health difficulty.
  • 75% of people said they would be willing to live nearby someone with a mental health difficulty.
  • 74% of people said they would be willing to continue a relationship with a friend who developed a mental health problem.
  • 9% of people said they currently have or have previously had a mental health difficulty.
  • 81% of people would seek help from a professional if they had a mental health difficulty.

An Ambassador from See Change, Barbara Brennan who has personal experiences of mental health difficulties shared her mental health journey on the night. “I got involved in 2009 after having a traumatic life changing experience and I wanted to share it, and more importantly the tools I used to get me out of it, with others so that they wouldn’t have to go to the incredibly dark places that I have been. Living most of my life in fear of my illness allowed it to control me completely.  Like a bully at school, my illness tormented me, beat me senseless, and left me struggling to breathe on a daily basis” she said.

“I decided that killing myself was the best thing I could do for my family, and for me too. I was put on a life support machine after being found by my brother and sister. Today, I am healthy. I am well. I am very much alive.” Ms Brennan continued, “People can, and DO recover from mental illness. It’s not talked about enough for people to realise the possibility of health and wellness after a serious bout of depression, anxiety, elation, eating disorder, or indeed any of the other labels from the long list under mental illness”.

Also speaking at the launch was the director of See Change John Saunders, he stated, “I urge everyone to play their part in helping to reduce stigma and wear the Green Ribbon this coming May. This year, we’re sending out 500,000 ribbons. We’re targeting every town in Ireland. The aim is to grow the conversation around mental health nationwide.”

You can pick up a green ribbon in Boots Stores across the country and in major Irish Railway Stations. If you wish to order ribbons for your workplace or community visit

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