Thoughts of parents’ tears stopped suicide

Pictured at the launch of the Laois Connects 2014 Programme at Portlaoise Parish Centre , were: seated( l. to r. ) GerryMurphy ( C.E.O. Laois Co. Council ) ,  Clr. John Joe Fennelly ( Chairman , Laois Co. Council ) , Alison Miller ( Irish Ladies Rugby team member ) and Josephine Rigney (Suicide Prevention Officer -H.S.E. ). Back ( L. TO R.)  Theresa Bergin ( Clerical Officer - Laois Co. Council ) , Pat Somers ( Editor , Leinster Express -Media Partner ) , Anna Marie Delaney ( Director of Services - Laois Co. Council ),  Ian Mc.Cormack ( Senior Executive Officer - Laois Co. Council ) ,  Ann Marie Maher (  Sports Officer Laois Co. Council ) , Caroline Myers ( Laois Sports Partnership ) , Storm Powell ( Laois Partnership ) and Finola Colgan (Mental Health Ireland )  .     Photo: Michael Scully - no reproduction fee .
An All-Ireland finalist who has battled depression has urged people to seek help if they are feeling suicidal.

An All-Ireland finalist who has battled depression has urged people to seek help if they are feeling suicidal.

Writing in the Leinster Express ahead of the Laois Connects Mental Health Week, Cavan footballer Alan O’Mara says depression changed his world shortly after he played in a 2011 final.

“I went from playing in the 2011 All-Ireland U21 final in Croke Park with Cavan to imagining crashing my car into a wall in a matter of months,” he write.

The Cavan man recovered and decided to go public in 2013 to help others. He says the harm to others stopped him from taking his life.

“It took me a long time to make sense of the situation I found myself in but I can’t tell you how grateful I am that my suicidal thought at that point was swiftly followed by the image of my parents crying at my funeral in my local church,” he writes.

The footballer and now campaigner for mental health is among the speakers who will be taking part in Laois Connects from Monday to Sunday October 6-12.

Following on from very successful events over the last two years, Laois County Council are hosting Laois Connects to highlight the importance of paying attention to our mental health and the importance of engaging and talking with others.

Laois CONNECTS” is being held in conjunction with Laois Mental Health Collaborative group which consists of a number of partners. These are, HSE, Laois Sports Partnership, Mental Health Ireland, Laois County Council, Laois Partnership Company and Laois/Offaly ETB. The Leinster Express is supporting the event.

Other talks on topical issues are How to raise Emotionally Healthy Childrena by Paul Gilligan, CEO, St Patrick’s Mental Health Services and Internet Safety and Cyberbullying by John Wills, Education Officer, Barnardo’s.

The week also features a memorial talk in honour of the late Kathleen Gorman a co founder of the week.

See Lifestlye page 41-3 for more on Laois Connects.