Connect to mental health

Wellness Hub in Portlaoise new part of mental health promotion week in Laois

Connect to mental health
By Conor Ganly @laoisnews

Laois CONNECTS the annual week aimed at promoting mental health in Laois returns this year with the new addition of a wellness hub in Portlaoise.

Laois CONNECTS Mental Health takes place from Saturday, October 8 until Saturday, October 15. It is organised by an umbrella group, Laois Mental Health Collaborative Group of organisations, and supported by the Leinster Express.

The programme for the week, which is now in its sixth year, boasts some returning favourites, such as community organised walks, art workshops and Library events throughout the week.

A 4K Family Walk will launch the week taking place in Emo with special guests, Zumba warm ups and face painting, hosted by Laois Sports Partnership.

Some new events on the programme include a week-long Wellness Hub event taking place in Laois Shopping Centre, Portlaoise.

The focus of the Wellness Pop-Up Hub is on positive mental health and wellbeing targeting all age groups and interests.

Events will include a primary school art project based on the theme “Inside Out”:- A series of Q&A workshops will take place along with several skills workshops where you meet professionals working in Mental Health Services and Promotion, to discuss any topics in relation to mental health and well being, and a wellness cafe “saloon” where you can come along, have a cuppa and learn new ways to cope with the stresses and strains of life. A number of relaxation type therapies will take place during the week including Mindfulness, Yoga, Massage and Zumba Dance, a fun fitness routine that helps increase self confidence and positive body image.

The Kathleen Gorman Memorial event takes place this year in Heywood College, Ballinakill and will welcome special guest Paul Gilligan, CEO, St. Patrick’s Mental Health Services, who will speak on “Teenage Emotional Wellbeing; a right or an aspiration”.

As part of the week, Students from Mountmellick Community College, who have recently achieved the Amber Flag, are visiting all the post-primary schools in Laois to highlight the importance of the campaign and to encourage positive mental health promotion. They will deliver to each individual staff member and student “A Student Survival Kit for Everyday Life” and, a “Staff Survival Kit for Everyday Life.”

Dunamaise Arts Centre, supported by Laois CONNECTS, will host “My Name is Emily” a free screening for schools including a Q & A with students.

The importance of the arts will be highlighted again this year by Mount Henry Art Studio, who will host “The Art of Self Care” and, “Let’s Create” activities for children with autism. Laois Arts Office will also host “A Toolbox for a Happy, Creative Mind” workshop with Artist/Filmmaker Lisa Fingleton.

Glosna House have come on board again this year with a diverse range of workshops during the week including “The Benefits of Acupuncture” with Collette O’Faolain, “Energy Healing” with Fiona A’Hearne and “Mindfulness Meditation” with Marie Byrne.

It is widely known that physical activity aids our mental health and in keeping with that theme, a number of sport related events will include “Go for Life Fun Day” for the older adults along with “Overcoming Adversity through Sport” Talk with special guest Niall McNamee and “Coping with a Critical Incident” with special guests Liam O’Neill and Colin Regan.

A number of workshops will take place during the week including “Valuing Volunteers” organised by Laois Partnership Company and Mental Health Ireland aimed at people already volunteering.

Treo Nua Family Resource Centre are hosting an Awareness Session “Your Teenager’s Mental Health” highlighting the early warning signs for Mental Health difficulties in young people and supportive steps parents can take organised by the HSE.

Promoting positive mental health has always been a focus of Laois Mental Health Collaborative Group. This comprising Laois County Council, Laois Sports Partnership, Laois Partnership Company, Mental Health Ireland, HSE and youth sector representatives, organisers of this year’s.

For details of the Laois CONNECTS programme see next week's Leinster Express . Full details are available copies of programme of events.

Please contact: Community & Enterprise Section, Laois County Council, Tel: 057 86 64107 or email :