Portlaoise Cllr Noel Tuohy believes suicide has become the biggest issue in Laois.
“Everyone has said the biggest problem facing people is homelessness. It’s not, it’s suicide. It destroys families and destroys communities. We have all been hit, this community has been hit again recently,” he said.
He was speaking after a presentation by Laois Sports Partnership, on the aims of their new five year plan, at the April council meeting.
“Mental health is a huge passion of ours for a number of years. We support Laois Connects awareness week, and we engage with local groups. Sport also tackles disadvantaged communities and obesity,” said co-ordinator Caroline Myers.
“What would you do if you got extra funding,” Cllr Touhy asked.
“We do not have a direct role, but we engage with services through the HSE and Mental Health Ireland. We try to get clubs to promote positive wellbeing, rather than mental health, as there is still a stigma to it.
“ I agree there is a huge need there. We can’t solve it but we can work with services to create awareness and point to services out there,” Ms Myers said.
Cllr Ben Brennan praised LSP’s work with clubs.
“There are many health issues to be tackled, but you have been so helpful to clubs. The amount of programs you do is unreal. I can see the new strategy being a big success,” he said.
Laois Sports Partnership’s strategy for 2017 to 2021 is to be launched in the coming months.