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A quarter of Irish people say their mental health deteriorated during pandemic

By Paul Mulholland - 25th Aug 2021

One in four Irish people say that their mental health deteriorated during the pandemic and one in five say their general health has declined, according to a survey published today by RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences.

The survey, conducted by Behaviour and Attitudes on behalf of RCSI, also found that the Irish public continues to place higher trust in healthcare professionals over other health information sources, and that the level of trust placed in them is increasing.

The findings were published as the university launches the 2021/2022 RCSI MyHealth virtual series which will seek to equip people with the tools to take better care of their own health and well-being.

73 per cent of survey respondents completely trust the information shared with them by healthcare professionals, up from 61 per cent in 2019 when this survey was last undertaken. Just 7% completely trust the health information they find online, and 3 per cent completely trust the heath information shared on social media.

Learning to live well as we emerge from the pandemic will be the main theme of the first three lectures in the 2021/2022 RCSI MyHealth virtual series:

· 21 September – Long Covid, breakthrough infections and booster vaccines: what the science tells us

· 13 October – Your toolkit for living well during the pandemic: The six pillars of lifestyle medicine (part 1)

· 16 November – Your toolkit for living well during the pandemic: The six pillars of lifestyle medicine (part 2)

Later in the series, RCSI experts will address topics including positive ageing, heart health, menopause and peri-menopause, cancer and neurological disorders. Each of these health issues will be discussed through the prism of lifestyle medicine which advocates for evidence-based lifestyle therapeutic intervention in helping prevent and treat chronic disease.

Launching the series, Professor Hannah McGee, Dean of RCSI’s Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, said: “We know that the Irish public have great confidence in the information they get from healthcare professionals and the pandemic has really shone a light on the importance of health promotion. The RCSI MyHealth series gives our academics, clinicians and scientists the platform to use their knowledge to help people live healthier lives”.

“Globally, there is a much greater understanding of the benefits of a lifestyle medicine approach to health. As a singularly focused health sciences university, we have a particular responsibility to use our knowledge to help people to make the small lifestyle adjustments that will enhance their physical and mental health as we emerge from the pandemic”, added Professor McGee.

RCSI MyHealth is part of RCSI’s commitment to enhancing human health by providing expert-driven healthcare information. The series supports the advancement of the UN Sustainable Development Goal on good health and wellbeing.

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