HSE Talking Health and Wellbeing Podcast

Listen to the HSE Talking Health and Wellbeing Podcast with interviews and insights on the work underway by HSE Health and Wellbeing and their partners to deliver on the Healthy Ireland ambition of supporting, protecting and empowering individuals, families and their communities to achieve their full health potential. You can follow on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts and on the HSE Health and Wellbeing YouTube channel.

Please get in touch to find out more about our podcast series or the work of HSE Health and Wellbeing at healthandwellbeing.communications@hse.ie.

Sláintecare Healthy Communities

Welcome to the first episode of the HSE Talking Health and Wellbeing Podcast. In this podcast, we focus on the Sláintecare Healthy Communities Programme to give some insights about how implementation of this new health inequality programme is progressing with Ger Fahy HSE Limerick Sláintecare Healthy Community Coordinator and Mairead Carney, Sláintecare Healthy Community Local Development Officer with Mayo County Council.

Listen on Podbean and on the HSE Health and Wellbeing YouTube channel.

GAA Healthy Club Programme

In this episode we hear from Colin Regan, the GAA’s Community and Health Manager who tells us all about the Healthy Club programme in the GAA, how it has developed in recent years and the ambition to have GAA clubs support their communities by being hubs for health and wellbeing.

Listen on Podbean and on the HSE Health and Wellbeing YouTube channel.

Tobacco Free Ireland

In this podcast episode listen to Sarah Halpin talk us through her journey from smoker to ‘We Can Quit’ Community Facilitator, where she is now helping others to stop smoking through the free HSE Quit supports. We also hear from Dr. Paul Kavanagh, HSE’s Public Health Clinical Advisor on Tobacco who shares his thoughts about the current smoking and vaping situation in Ireland today and the plans for a Tobacco Free Ireland. Hosted by Noreen Turley.

Listen on Podbean on the HSE Health and Wellbeing YouTube channel.

Men’s Health

In this episode, hosted by Fergal Fox, we hear from Dr. Noel Richardson on the subject of men’s health and about how masculinity can put limitations on men’s health and men’s help seeking behaviours. Noel is the Director of the National Men’s Health Research Centre in South East Technological University and has been working in the area of men’s health for over twenty years. Noel discusses on a variety for men’s health initiatives that have been developed in recent years and the various partners who have supported and driven the work.

Listen on Podbean on the HSE Health and Wellbeing YouTube channel.

Living Well Programme

In this episode, hosted by Eamon Keogh, we talk about the Living Well Programme, a free group self-management programme to help people manage their long-term health condition. Tommy, shares his experience of participating in the programme, his personal challenges and how the programme offered practical help and support. Liz Cox, a Living Well Leader, talks to us about the structure of the programme and what people considering joining can expect. Mary Gowing, a Self Management Support Coordinator for Long-term Health Conditions discusses the history of the Living Well programme, its origins and explains more about what a long term health condition is. 

Listen on Podbean on the HSE Health and Wellbeing YouTube channel.

Alcohol Action Ireland

In this episode listen to Dr. Sheila Gilheaney, CEO of Alcohol Action Ireland as she describes the work underway to reduce the harm from alcohol in Ireland. Hosted by Noreen Turley, Sheila shares excellent insights into the policy areas needing attention as she works in collaboration with the HSE to promote a healthier response to alcohol. 

Listen on Podbean on the HSE Health and Wellbeing YouTube channel.

Staff Choirs

Listen to the latest episode of the HSE Talking Health and Wellbeing Podcast to hear a heart-warming conversation with Alison Baker Kerrigan and host Fergal Fox, who both share their experience and insights from singing in workplace choirs in the health service. Alison, who works as Arts Officer in Tallaght University Hospital and takes part in their Heartbeats Choir, shares her experience of working with her colleagues in Tallaght to write a new song, which was shared as part of one of the HSE Staff Choir Concerts. Alison also took part in David Brophy’s Frontline Choir during COVID and describes what it was like to connect with a new group of HSE colleagues to practice and perform for the television series.

Listen on Podbean on the HSE Health and Wellbeing YouTube channel.

Social Prescribing

Listen to this episode as we learn about Social Prescribing and how this initiative can improve the wellbeing of a wide range of individuals, including those who are socially isolated, lonely, and experiencing long-term conditions and mental health difficulties. This week, we speak to Caragh Munn, Social Prescribing co-ordinator with Bray Area Partnership, who explains how Social Prescribing focuses on ‘What Matters to the Person’ rather than ‘What is the Matter with the Person.’ She describes how the aim of Social Prescribing is to connect adults to community groups, organisations and statutory services for practical and emotional support with the help of a Social Prescribing Link Worker.

We learn how referrals to the Social Prescribing Link Worker come from various sources, including GPs, nurses, community mental health teams, health and social care professionals, older people services, the community and voluntary sector, as well as self-referrals. Details on how to make a referral or how to self-refer to a service, and where to find your nearest Social Prescribing Service can be found at: https://allirelandsocialprescribing.ie/members-map/.

Listen on Podbean on the HSE Health and Wellbeing YouTube channel.

Making the ‘Big Talk’ many small talks

Listen to the latest episode of the HSE Talking Health and Wellbeing Podcast, featuring Moira Germaine, Education and Training Manager with the Sexual Health and Crisis Pregnancy Programme. Moira tells us about the Making the ‘Big Talk’ many small talks resources, which support conversations between parents and their children about relationships and sexuality. Find out all about the research and rationale behind the new resources, now available on sexualwellbeing.ie, as Moira shares her insights from working with a wide range of stakeholders on sexual health to empower parents and carers to support healthy relationships for their children.

Listen on Podbean on the HSE Health and Wellbeing YouTube channel.

Mental Health

Listen to the latest episode of the HSE Talking Health and Wellbeing Podcast, hosted by Noreen Turley with Mark Smyth, HSE Senior Clinical Psychologist, who discuss some of the signs of mental health problems and the new HSE Mental Health Literacy Campaign. The episode focuses on stress, anxiety, low mood and sleep as common signs of mental health problems and what we can do to help ourselves and others. HSE resources and support information are available on yourmentalhealth.ie.

Listen on Podbean and on the HSE Health and Wellbeing YouTube channel.

Health Promotion and Improvement

In this episode listen to Karen Heavey and Joan Ita Murphy, two Health Promotion and Improvement Managers in the HSE, as they describe the work of their departments in HSE Health and Wellbeing. Their staff work with a wide variety of partners internally and externally as they target issues from smoking cessation, promoting mental wellbeing and delivery of staff health and wellbeing. Karen and Joan Ita also talk about the social determinants of health, their work on Sláintecare Healthy Communities and how they see their increased staffing numbers working to address the health needs of their areas in the coming years.

Listen on Podbean and on the HSE Health and Wellbeing YouTube channel.

Making Every Contact Count (MECC)

In this episode we talk about Making Every Contact Count (MECC), a national behaviour change programme, which prepares healthcare professionals to use the different contacts they have with their patients as an opportunity to talk with them about making healthier lifestyle changes, in order to prevent chronic disease. Mo Foley, Making Every Contact Count Mobiliser and Louise Crowley, Physiotherapy Manager in HSE Mid-West Community Healthcare tell host Eamon Keogh all about their experience implementing Making Every Contact Count. They share their insights from supporting the implementation of MECC, discussing the training programme, why staff should take it on, and why MECC is of benefit to the public. For more information visit: www.makingeverycontactcount.ie.

Listen on Podbean and on the HSE Health and Wellbeing YouTube channel.


In this episode we talk to Ian Power CEO of SpunOut.ie, the youth information website. The discussion covers a broad range of issues that young people are seeking information on through the website. Ian describes how the organisation has developed and learned by working with young people to give insights and offer support with trusted information where and when young people need it. SpunOut also launched the Free Text 50808 service in 2020 and Ian shares some insights into the way that service was set up and how it supports young people through challenging times. SpunOut have been a partner of the HSE in the context of youth mental health and youth health information for many years.

Listen on Podbean and on the HSE Health and Wellbeing YouTube channel.

Traveller Wellbeing through Creativity

In this episode we hear from Martin Beanz Warde who tells us about his ‘Through Our Eyes’ photography project which was funded under the Traveller Through Creativity initiative in 2022. Martin is a Comedian, Writer and Photographer who also shares his own personal story about expressing his creative ability in a variety of ways and how he has supported others through his growing media presence.

Listen on Podbean and on the HSE Health and Wellbeing YouTube channel.

Men’s Health Week – Why it Matters

In episode 15 of the HSE Talking Health & Wellbeing Podcast, we talk about Men’s Health Week with Anne Farrell,  CIE Occupational Health Unit and Finian Murray in HSE Health and Wellbeing. Finian explains the background to Men’s Health Week and the range of activities happening during Men’s Health Week 2023 and the many partners involved. Anne talks to us about the range of health & wellbeing supports in CIE for their pre-dominantly male staff. Hosted by Eamon Keogh. To find out more about #MensHealthWeek check out www.mhfi.org.

Listen on Podbean and on the HSE Health and Wellbeing YouTube channel.

Choose Screening

In this episode, host Fergal Fox talks to Fiona Murphy, Chief Executive of the HSE National Screening Service (NSS) and Grace Rattigan, one of their Patient and Public Partnership representatives about the importance of the four national screening programmes to help prevent or recognise disease early when it is easier to treat. Screening saves lives and the NSS recently launched their new strategy ‘Choose Screening’, putting engagement with people to the forefront of how they do their work. Fiona talks about the significance of this person-centred approach, the journey of the development of the strategy and how the NSS aims to ensure that screening is an informed-choice for people. Grace shares her experience of becoming an ambassador for screening promotion, and speaks about how worthwhile and empowering it has been as a member of the NSS Patient and Public Partnership to help shape the development of the service. For more on the HSE National Screening Service go to: www.screeningservice.ie

Listen on Podbean and on the HSE Health and Wellbeing YouTube channel.

Healthy Workplaces

In this episode we talk Healthy Workplaces with Biddy O’Neill from Healthy Ireland in the Department of Health. The discussion covers the background to the Healthy Workplace Framework – Healthy Ireland at Work, and why and how the recently launched Healthy Workplace Website will guide workplaces on the best things they can do to develop and improve the wellbeing of their staff. Biddy shares her insights into the potential of Healthy Workplaces, what the evidence tells us and what they hope to achieve with the new website as a one stop shop for workplaces, with lots of resources to signpost and support. Hosted by Fergal Fox. Check out the new Healthy Ireland at Work website at: www.healthyworkplace.ie

Listen on Podbean and on the HSE Health and Wellbeing YouTube channel.

HSE Safer Nightlife Programme

In this episode we talk to Nicki Killeen, Project Manager working on HSE Emerging Drugs Trends, we hear all about the HSE Safer Nightlife Programme which was set up to reduce the harm of drugs used in “nightlife” settings and at music festivals in particular. Nicki shares her insights on the pilot work done at the Electric Picnic Music Festival last year and the work underway at this year’s summer music festivals to support people around their risk taking behaviours and to gather samples of drugs for checking. This ‘back of house’ approach allows for drugs to be gathered and analysed through “surrender bins” and supports the team to identify substances of concern, provide real time information in relation to drugs circulating and engage with festival goers to reduce drug-related harms. Nicki explains how the teams of drugs.ie volunteers work at the festivals to build up trust and engage with those attending to complete brief interventions. For more information go to www.drugs.ie.

Listen on Podbean and on the HSE Health and Wellbeing YouTube channel.

HSE Active Workplaces

In this episode we talk to Eimear Cotter, Project Manager, Healthy Eating Active Living Programme, HSE Health & Wellbeing and Dan Russell, Health Promotion & Improvement Officer, HSE, Dublin South, Kildare & West Wicklow Community Healthcare, about active workplaces and the importance of physical activity. Eimear discusses the physical activity guidelines, the risks associated with sedentary behaviour in the workplace and why movement breaks are so important to incorporate as part of our daily routine. Dan shares his experiences about the HSE Steps to Health challenge, which is an internal initiative aimed at encouraging and supporting staff to be more active. 

Listen on Podbean and on the HSE Health and Wellbeing YouTube channel.

Parents Matter

In this episode, we speak to Professor Bobby Smyth, Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, on the role of parents in the area of substance prevention and education, as part of an ongoing campaign ‘Parents Matter’ to promote information about substances and how to engage children and young people on this matter. Families have the potential to act as a major protective force in the lives of children and adolescents. Mutually supportive family relationships generally influence the prevention of substance use among young people.

In the podcast we hear about the current drug and alcohol landscape, including the latest drug trends and how parents can help in supporting healthy decision making by their children. Professor Smyth also discusses the reasons why we seek to delay or avoid young people’s entry into the world of alcohol and drug use and the steps which parents can take to reduce the likelihood that their son or daughter develops a substance use problem.

Listen on Podbean and on the HSE Health and Wellbeing YouTube channel.

To find out more information and the support options for concerned parents in their local area, visit: https://www.drugs.ie/drugs_info/for_parents_carers/resources_for_parents/.

Positive Mental Health

In this episode we talk to HSE Health Promotion and Improvement Officers, Olive Fanning and Anne Marie Murphy, about Positive Mental Health and the HSE’s Minding Your Wellbeing programme which is available through a series of 5 videos along with other mental health supports on www.yourmentalhealth.ie. Hosted by Fergal Fox, they discuss the programme and many of the terms and concepts used in the field of Positive Psychology such as Self-Care, Resilience, Positive Relationships, Mindfulness and how we need to Manage Our Thoughts. Both Anne Marie and Olive have significant experience of delivering this evidenced based programme face to face to HSE staff and they offer their insights, giving listeners lots to reflect on in terms of how they mind their own mental wellbeing.

The Minding Your Wellbeing Programme Support Booklet is also highlighted in the podcast as a useful practical tool for people who are working to improve their mental wellbeing and is available via www.healthpromotion.ie.

Listen on Podbean and on the HSE Health and Wellbeing YouTube channel.

Alcohol & Pregnancy

In this podcast two experts discuss Alcohol and Pregnancy. Dr Mary O’Mahony, Consultant in Public Health Medicine and Professor Maeve Eogan, Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist talk to podcast host Noreen Turley about a range of issues involved including Foetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD). FASD Awareness Day is the 9th of September 2023.

They discuss the difficulties that some women face giving up alcohol while pregnant and the importance of providing consistent messaging to women. The clear message is that no amount of alcohol at any stage of pregnancy is safe for your baby and if you have had a drink, stopping as soon as the pregnancy is confirmed is the best thing for your developing baby.

Maeve says that “We want to support women who find having an alcohol free pregnancy difficult without the ‘blame and shame culture’ that can prevent women asking for help. Health care professionals need to have clear communication and have those challenging conservations with women so that we can provide support to women.”

Mary explains that “The reality is that anytime alcohol is consumed during pregnancy, it passes from your blood stream through the placenta to your baby. Even a small amount of alcohol can harm a baby’s development and may have lifelong effects. But stopping drinking alcohol at any stage of pregnancy is of benefit to the baby.”

Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can cause foetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD). FASD experience lifelong challenges and need support with their physical health. They may struggle with learning, memory, attention, communication, emotional regulation, and social skills. FASD Awareness Day is the 9th of September 2023.

For further information and tips for not drinking during pregnancy contact the Drug and Alcohol Helpline on 1800 459 459 or visit Alcohol during pregnancy page and mychild.ie.

Listen on Podbean and on the HSE Health and Wellbeing YouTube channel.

Healthy Lunchboxes for Kids

The latest HSE Talking Health and Wellbeing Podcast talks about Healthy Lunchboxes for Kids and much more.

With school routines starting again and parents getting to grips with what to put into those lunchboxes and what to avoid. Marian McBride, Dietetic Lead, HSE Health & Wellbeing discusses the importance of a balanced diet to ensure children develop a healthy relationship with food.

With tips on how to introduce healthier foods into children’s daily diets. Marian gives ideas on what to include, recognising that parents are busy, she explains that it’s about frequency and taking those different opportunities to introduce healthier options.

For more information and ideas visit Healthy eating page.

Listen on Podbean and on the HSE Health and Wellbeing YouTube channel.

Healthy Campus

Listen to the latest episode which delves into the area of the Healthy Campus work underway in third-level institutions across the country. Under the Higher Education Healthy Campus Charter and Framework led by the Higher Education Authority (HEA), this sector continues to increase its delivery of health and wellbeing work in conjunction with the Department of Health, Healthy Ireland. Our guests are Martina Mullin from Trinity College Dublin and Dr. Teresa Hurley from Technological University Dublin, who share their insights and learning from their on the ground work with host Fergal Fox. As a setting, higher education has huge potential, to not only improve health and wellbeing but also improve academic performance, students' sense of belonging, improve staff-student relationships, reduce stress and link to any number of priority issues for young adults and staff. Many of these benefits are discussed and given real world examples in the podcast.

A Healthy Campus ‘adopts a holistic understanding of health, takes a whole campus approach and aspires to create a learning environment and organisational culture that enhances the health and wellbeing of its community and enables people to achieve their full potential’. It’s about moving away from a focus only on individuals to ensure we are creating campuses that are conducive and supportive to health and wellbeing, a whole campus approach. This includes how health can be supported through teaching and learning, leadership, governance and strategy, student services, the physical environment, and campus culture. It aims to foster an ethos of care, compassion, and inclusion on campuses. The Healthy Campus Process, contained in the Framework, outlines an inclusive, coordinated approach to improving health and wellbeing. To find out more about the work underway in this area see the HEA’s Healthy Campus webpage.

The HEA oversees the strategic development of the Irish higher education and research system, with responsibility for the effective governance and regulation of higher education institutions and the higher education system. As well as responsibility for the Healthy Campus Framework, the HEA also oversees the implementation of the National Student Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Framework (PDF, 3.43MB, 92 pages).

Listen on Podbean and on the HSE Health and Wellbeing YouTube channel.