Laois Connects is an excellent example of what can be achieved when individuals, organisation both voluntary and statutory come together to celebrate and promote community wellness.
It is the type of community initiative that no one organisation could deliver on single handily and Laois Community Forum who have been a driving force behind developing community awareness on mental health for the past few years are to be congratulated on their commitment to the issue of mental health especially in these challenging economic times.
The cornerstone to the week is mental health and well being two sides of the one coin. According to the UK Dept. of Health, “well being is a positive state of mind and body, feeling safe and able to cope with a sense of connection with people communities and the wider environment.” Laois Connects is reflective of this definition and coupled with one of the many definitions of mental health as a fundamental element of resilience that enable people both to cope with adversity and to reach their full potential is a wonderful opportunity for the community to enhance their mental health.
It will also continue significantly to a better under standing of mental health, given that most people associate mental health with mental illness. It is important that we do not neglect our mental health as to do so can ultimately lead to poor mental health and possible mental illness.
The key message to Building Resilience is that developing day-to-day resilience skills can strengthen our abilities to cope with disappointments and set backs when they occur. Resilience is the ability to bounce back from a negative event and can prevent us getting swept away by negative emotion.
The promotion of awareness around resilience is all part of the developing positive psychology trend which is concerned about discovering what makes people happier focusing on ordinary human strengths.
It is about achieving a balance between the daily negatives and the positives.
One way of achieving this is for every negative experienced find three positives to counter balance.
Ultimately in our lives we have more positive experiences than negative experiences. Unfortunately the negative emotions tend to wear us down and cause worry and possible upset. Constant negative feelings can be quiet debilitating, so it is essential that we learn to redress the balance.
Positive emotions motivate us and to be more flexible in how we think and behave. In her presentation I will explore the 10 Positive Step for building resilience that can help us flourish and thrive in our daily lives. (www.aisling.ie)
MHI is delivering Mental Health Matters awareness Training with Laois Partnership Company on Tuesday, September 18 and the Transition Year Classes in Scoil Chriost Ri and Mountmellick Community School will be partaking in the Mental Health Programme during school hours.
*Finola Colgan is Development Officer with Mental Health Ireland and a member of the Mental Health Collaborative Group established by Laois Community Forum and is the recent recipient of Excellence in Teaching award