Celebrating the life of Laois Champion, Kathleen

The late Kathleen Gorman on right with her colleague and Laois ICA president Betty Gorman.
The theme of our Laois Connects collaborative mental health group project is Positive Mental Health and Well-being. It is now in its third year going from strength from strength.

The theme of our Laois Connects collaborative mental health group project is Positive Mental Health and Well-being. It is now in its third year going from strength from strength.

Our community champion Kathleen Gorman was one of the key founder members of this initiative back in May 2011 along with Laois Community Forum. Kathleen had the foresight to bring along other agencies and services form the region that has led to the strengthening and continuity of the Mental Health Collaborative Group.

In recognition of Kathleen’s contribution to promoting mental health awareness in our community the Laois Connects Collaborative group decided to honour Kathleen’s memory by hosting a commemorative public talk. The theme of the talk was carefully chosen to reflect Kathleen’s’ commitment to improve community understanding about mental health and indeed mental illness. Dr Fergus Heffernan, Psychologist and Family Therapist will talk on “Creating Resilience in Challenging Times’ to take place on Tuesday, 7th October at 7pm in Abbeyleix Manor. All members of the public are welcome

Kathleen spent her formative years actively caring for patients in St Fintan’s Hospital and along with many of her colleagues made the transition onto delivering mental health services in the community. Kathleen by all accounts brought her passion and zeal into the community.

Kathleen never confined her care giving role to her professional responsibilities but extended her commitment and dedication to getting things done in her community. This is particularly reflected in her many roles where she crated significant impact as a Physical Activity Leader (PAL) for Laois Sports Partnership, actively involved in the Laois Community Voluntary Forum.

Kathleen through her local involvement in the ICA rose to being Laois Federation President ICA and went on to achieve the highest honour of the ICA and was their National Secretary from 2011 until her illness. Kathleen was a successful fund raiser and promoter of other initiatives in the areas of sport including disability programmes, mental health awareness and sport and physical activity for older adult groups especially in Ballinakill. Kathleen was always flexible in giving her time and most importantly, always had a cup of tea on offer, a smile and a handshake for everyone

Caroline Myers spoke on behalf of the Laois Mental Health Collaborative Group

“All of the aforementioned reflects the essence of good mental health in the community. It is because of Kathleen’s approach and support to mental health promotion in the community that our organisation found themselves in a position to drive forward in supporting better awareness of mental health and its relevance to everyday life.

“We as a group missed Kathleen involvement in planning this year’s Laois Connects week and felt it was very important that Kathleen’s memory and contribution in past years was not forgotten. We decided to nominate Kathleen as a Community Champion.

“At the end of the day mental health is about coping, about involvement and participation, Kathleen through her own ups and downs in life has shown great leadership and inspiration at local level which is where our lives are”

Kathleen’s family, friends and the public are welcome to this free and special presentation on “Creating Resilience in Challenging Times” on Tuesday, October 7 in Abbeyleix Manor and to celebrate and acknowledge Kathleen’s contribution.nity a better place with an improved understanding of mental health.