Mental Health Awareness

What is mental health illness to you?

A question I have asked myself many times before… until I began to have an in-depth understanding last year when I undertook a placement year in a chemist.

There are many different types of mental health illnesses a few to state of the top of my mind;

*Anxiety *Depression *Post-traumatic stress *Eating disorders

The list could go on and on….

I googled ‘what is mental health illnesses’ and the response I received was, ‘Mental illnesses are health conditions involving changes in thinking, emotion or behaviour (or a combination of these). Mental illnesses are associated with distress and/or problems functioning in social, work or family activities’.

A lot of people don’t understand what mental health illnesses are, and this is why I think mental health awareness needs to be promoted a lot more especially to the younger generation like myself. Social media is massive as we all know, and is an incredible communication source to get a message across.

This year on social media especially Facebook and Instagram, individuals promoted, ‘World Mental Health Day’ on the 10th October.


I myself posted an image to my Facebook profile, and my Instagram account as recently mental health illnesses have touched me very close to home this year. (I am never one to post much)

I used the hashtags #FightTheStigma #BeKindAlways which were trending for Mental Health Awareness Day


I got a great response from younger people. One simple post could save someone, explaining to them that they are not alone or discovering helpline numbers they can call which they may not have known about before.

It really is the simple things in life that can help someone.

World Mental Health Day provides an opportunity ‘for all stakeholders working on mental health issues to talk about their work, and what more needs to be done to make mental health care a reality for people worldwide’.

Mental health illnesses are real conditions. People need to stop and think before they speak, get to know someone before they begin to prejudge them. You don’t know what he or she has been through until you walk in their shoes.

We need to break the stigma and speak out, nobody is alone.

Many celebrities, bloggers and many more posted on social media about mental health illnesses, and this is where the young generation will learn about these conditions.

‘Little Penny’s book of Thoughts’ is an inspirational book full of powerful and touching quotes, which many of us know. This is a woman called Annette who posts every day little inspiring quotes, that people know as a ‘pick me up’. She is an amazing woman as mental health campaigner, with 264k plus page likes and 265,000 plus followers on Facebook alone. She posts ‘daily pockets of positivity’.


On World Mental health Day she posted the below post which got 1.6k likes and 1k shares. This post was truly amazing. Annette is a Compiler of Little Penny’s Book of Thoughts. ‘Mind-set mentor/speaker and workshop facilitator and a Mental Health Advocate’.



People who say that one harsh comment in passing could completely ruin someone’s self-esteem whereas that simple compliment, ‘your outfit is gorgeous’ could literally make someone’s smile light up a corridor.

As a 22 year old girl, I have had an absolute roller coaster of a year BUT that’s a story for another day. From one extreme to the next, I eventually seen the, ‘light at the end of the tunnel’. Which has been an eye-opener to say the least, from claiming what was the ‘worst year of my life’ to the biggest learning curve I could never have imagined, I can eventually stand strong and believe it eventually does get better.

‘Hard times will always reveal true friends’


Time is a healer

Saying goodbye to the negativity in your life is the first and hardest step of your journey, speaking from experience, you can do it!

Progress takes time and time takes patience (I was never a patient woman). Every day is a new beginning and the light will always shine bright even if you can’t see it.

It’s okay not to be okay. Nobody is alone #FightTheStigma #BeKindAlways

As part of our PR module this year we are making a campaign for ‘AWARE NI’ to bring awareness to the public of who AWARE NI are and what they do.

AWARE NI are the national depression charity for Northern Ireland – and the only charity working exclusively for people with depression and bipolar disorder.

If you are in need of help with mental health illnesses please look into this amazing charity, whether it be to donate, attend a support group, fund-raise, or simply needing someone to contact when you are in need they are outstanding.

Check the charity out on;,


Call; 028 7126 0602

Possibly attend a support group within your area, avail of their online support groups or whatever it may be, AWARE NI are more than happy to help!!

If you take anything from this student blog please know that no matter how bad things get you will survive to tell the tail and things can only get better… TRUST ME 🙂

Breige Hollywood is a final year CAM student at Ulster University. She can be contacted on LinkedIn at and Twitter @ HollywoodBreige


An eye opener to the ‘REAL WORLD’ of work

Applying for a placement year next year? One thought on your mind, scared??

Hearing people in class going to America, London, Spain, Dublin you name it… Little old me sitting there thinking is Armagh too far away for me to travel??? (Thinking about this now, I laugh a LOT)

Having so much at home, family, friends etc I lived in a little bubble of my own, I couldn’t bare thinking about down south at the time never mind overseas! (Serious regret…. I advise to go as FAR away as you can!!)


I was lucky to apply to my first placement, receive an interview and successfully get it, which isn’t always the case. If you don’t get accepted to your first placement don’t worry for ‘everything happens for a reason’. I learned this the hard way recently and I am still trying to discover the reason!

Whether it be deciding to go into final year without a placement year, a gap year to find yourself, a placement year you despise or a placement year you enjoy and potentially secure a future job with, ‘what is for you won’t go passed you’.

I spent my placement year in McKeevers Chemists, with the most amazing, inspirational woman. At the start the only thing the pair of us had in common was getting dressed up! (Ironic as I am a shopaholic)

Off I went in July, day one, this quiet little girl who sat by the window in the office (I usually can’t sit still or quiet unless there is circumstances). The office was that quiet you could literally hear a pin drop… I lasted about a month.

Monthly meetings began with my manager, I spilled the beans on the first meeting, why does nobody talk?? I explained how I wanted to be more involved, I wanted to get to know this quiet and intelligent woman who sat beside me (my manager), I wanted to get out and about to the different stores, organise events etc after all this is why we choose a sandwich course to get the placement experience!

Safe to say the manager was delighted to hear my response! My main concern was bringing Christmas cheer as you can see below, I had to get Santa to appear!!


To think now within a year, I learned SO much about myself as an individual as well as learning so much about the marketing sector as a marketing assistant.

To top it off I have without a shadow of a doubt made a friend for life, and I truly mean this, I would call this woman my angel in disguise!!


To all the second years considering a placement year next year, my advice to you would be look further than your front door, for that is my only regret of my third year choices! Yes, I absolutely loved my placement hands down, and I have learned SO much which I will benefit in the future. Looking back now, I had so many possible opportunities to experience, to name a few, different countries, cultures, languages etc you name it! AND I chose to stay at home!

I advise as a final year student now to;

***Be yourself***

There is only one you, and no other person is like you, and I am sure you are an amazing Individual!

My daddy always says, ‘if there was another Breige, there would be a hell lot of trouble’


‘you don’t have to do anything but die’.

These two quotes really make me realise, if you are not happy in one place, there is another place full of people waiting to meet you!

Wherever next year may take you, I hope you smash it!

Breige Hollywood is a final year CAM student at Ulster University. She can be contacted on LinkedIn at Twitter @ HollywoodBreige



A young bunch of girls gong to Santa Ponsa as our FIRST girl holiday, you can imagine the excitement!!

Checking in at the airport, the Facebook and Instagram pic, Snapchat polluted, what else do you expect from 18 and 19 year olds??


Few years later, now ‘mature’ 22 year olds, off we went again holiday planning.

The same group of girls, minus a few… deciding in a group chat where shall we go on holidays? Exciting of course, but not your ‘ordinary’ sunny two week holiday to France, Spain etc (as much as I did try to persuade this)

Reality hit, it was May, there we were sharing ideas in the no other place than the local pub!

As I said before, not once could I persuade a two week holiday to France or Spain etc, I may as well of been talking to the wall!!

One extreme to the next and later that night, flights were booked to Thailand 🙂

Not knowing one thing about this country other than it would be a long flight, it has many different bugs and people recommend to stay in hostels as they are ‘cheap and cheerful’.

Listening to many people about how cheap Thailand is (note to self, it is not cheap if you travel like us girls) we thought, why not? We are only young the once!

In all the excitement of course we didn’t research into much detail and booked it for ‘rainy season’


Future advice, check the seasonal weather changes!

Off we went 4 best friends to the land of Thailand, no clue where to go, what to do, what to expect, or what to eat (nothing but pizza, chips, pasta and garlic bread). To say the least we ‘took the bull by the horns’ and what an experience we had!!! Arriving at numerous airports etc with my surname on a board with a slightly different spelling which was ‘holywood’ for our airport collection


 We lived the dream for 2 weeks!!!

You could say it was like a girl version of the film ‘hangover’… I suppose a little less extreme, a group of girls like the film ‘Bridesmaids’ you could say. The least to say one girl got ate alive by god knows what kind of bugs and swoll like a balloon (literally). It was like team bonding busting blisters with needles you could say!! Drinking ourselves out of a hangover… I am sure you get where this is going!

It was an amazing experience, every girl trip has a few hiccups of course, would we really be friends if we didn’t?? Travelling from Bangkok (HUGE eye opener!!) vomiting at the smell of the streets as soon as we touched down. The ‘famous’ city smell of Bangkok consisted of on the street cooking of fish which looked highly contaminated (I promise, this is not a joke), the dead fish crying for help!

Then travelling to Phuket, Phi Phi then arriving in the most amazing, scenic place I could imagine Maya Bay


This island is worth travelling to Thailand simply for the most exotic, peaceful views, no words can describe! Another boat and a long ass journey to Ko Samui then Ko Tao and back to the beautiful Ko Samui followed by a plane journey to the busy city of Chang Mai! Two weeks of travelling and we finally jumped on a plane to Bangkok to head back to the sunny Ireland (joke of the year)

4 girls who didn’t save 2p to go on holidays but managed between our savings and budgeting, we ended up having an absolute blast! If you take anything from this blog post, my advice is to put Thailand on your bucket list when your young folks!


You NEED to go to the elephant sanctuary in Chang Mai



I advise not to take a back pack if you do NOT travel light (girl problems)


Go for at least 3 weeks… 2 is not enough to enjoy each destination!

BUT everything is a learning curve, Thailand is a must see 🙂

Breige Hollywood is a final year BSc in Communication, Advertising & Marketing student at Ulster University. She can be contacted on LinkedIn at and Twitter @HollywoodBreige