Connecting Laois with mental health help

Helping people in communities across Laois to cope with mental health issues is the focus of a major week long initiative which will run accros Laois in September.

Helping people in communities across Laois to cope with mental health issues is the focus of a major week long initiative which will run accros Laois in September.

Laois Community Forum is to host ‘Laois Connects’ which is the first ever countywide Mental Health Awareness Week which will take place from September 15 to 22 next. The organisers have chosen the word Connects to stand for Community, Ourselves, Nature, Nurture, Engage, Cope, Talk and Support.

The Forum decided to host a week long event following strong support from communities after holding an evening on ‘Managing our Mental Health’ in 2010.

Supported by the Leinster Express, the week includes many talks on topics which affect us such as Coping with bereavement and loss, dealing with stress in our lives, depression, ageing and mental health to name a few.

There are also talks by well known people such as Mary Mc Evoy (who played ‘Biddy Byrne’ in RTE’s ‘Glenroe’ for almost 20 years). Laois Community Chairman Chairman Paddy Buggy said the bad summer has put pressure on farmers.

“Being a farmer I have found this to be one of the most difficult years I have had to cope with. The constant bad weather has made my daily and seasonal work a nightmare to complete. This constant battle has not only left scars in the fields, but it has left scars in peoples minds.

“We have Mary McEvoy talking in the Killeshin Hotel on Thursday 20 and we would particularly invite farmers and rural dwellers to this night’s talks.

One of the highlights is the GAA evening where there will be talks on mental health awareness, including a talk by Michael Duignan, Offaly All Ireland Hurler and Sunday Game analyst on RTÉ.

Other talks fetaure Caroline Mc Guigan, Suicide or Survive, Dr. Eddie Murphy (RTE’s ‘Operations Transformation’). The week is not all about talks and seminars. There will be walks promoting physical exercise as being great for our mental health. There will a taste of meditation, art therapy and cookery demonstrations.

The week will end with a Fun Walk in Emo Court on Saturday, September 22 led by Dr Eddie Murphy, so get your runners on.

“The week is being held to highlight the importance of taking care of our own mental health and also the importance of engaging with each other in communities. The week will also highlight the professional health services available to everyone,” said Honor Deevy, Community & Enterprise, Laois County Council

Laois CONNECTS is being held in conjunction with the Laois Mental Health Collaborative Group, which works under auspices of Laois County Development Board and consists of a number of partners including the HSE, Laois Sports Partnership, Mental Health Ireland, SHINE, GROW, Laois County Council, Laois Partnership Company Ltd, Laois VEC and the Leinster Express.

For more check out next week’s Leinster Express. All details of the programme can be viewed on www.laoiscommunityforum.ie/laoisconnects or contact Comunity & Enterprise Section, Laois County Council. Tel: 057 86 74337 / 057 86 74338