26 May 2022

IN PICTURES: Minister for mental health visits Portlaoise

The Minister for health and wellbeing visited Laois this week to meet clubs that support the county's youth and LGBT communities.

Minister Frank Feighan, Minister of State for Public Health, Well Being and National Drugs Strategy visited two Healthy Ireland funded initiatives on Tuesday, May 3, being undertaken by Healthy Ireland Laois.

He met the Regional Director of Youth Work Ireland Laois, Clive Davis and was taken on a tour of its headquarters in Portlaoise, including viewing a new street mural celebrating gay pride in the town (below).

The LGBT+ Mural at Lyster Square Portlaoise was co-ordinated by the Midlands LGBT+ Project, a Laois based service helping to reduce isolation among LGBT+ people in the Midlands . The mural created by local artist ADW represents solidarity and strength, and was funded by Healthy Ireland Laois, to promote LGBT+ awareness and visibility. 

The Minister was welcomed by Donal Brennan, Director of Service, Laois County Council, Cathaoirleach Conor Bergin, MCC, Ms Emma O’ Connor, Healthy Laois County Co-ordinator and Ms Anne Marie Kirrane, Healthy Laois Manager.

Clive Davis described the work being carried out in the community.

"Youth Work Ireland Laois are delighted to be in the position to deliver the Positive Laois programme in Laois. The project objectives came from interactions and listening to issues directly facing young people. As the only Laois based Youth Organisation in the county, we are so proud to be able to share our amazing space with as many young people as possible. We continue to use Youth Work to facilitate change to support the development of our young people," he said.

An Art Therapist Programme is part of their service.

“Young people who present with emotional intolerance/stress often have not developed the verbal skills required to express this distress, and Art therapy provides the model for non-verbal communication and expression in a safe and therapeutic environment. Art Therapy uses creative and adaptive skills in providing varying treatment intervention modalities to address these varied presentations in a client friendly and responsive manner,” Clive Davis said.

The Cathaoirleach, Mr Conor Bergin, MCC, said that initiatives funded under Healthy Laois are based on the premise that health and well-being is affected by all aspects of a person’s life, including education, socio- economic status and the physical environment .

Portlaoise man Joe Thompson is chairperson of Laois Local Community Development Committee and Member of the Healthy Ireland Laois Sub Committee.

“Healthy Ireland initiatives strives to create an environment where every individual and sector of society , can play their part in achieving a healthy Laois, Recent studies have shown the need for preventative action, if we are to address areas of concern, such as physical activity, mental health, sexual health and substance abuse,” he said.

Laois County Council Director of Services, Donal Brennan had warmly welcomed the Minister to Laois.

“Through our Healthy Laois initiatives and through collaboration with our partners, together we work with communities and individuals to increase healthy life choices and opportunities across all stages of life,” he said.

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