TULLAMORE Mental Health Association’s recent public lecture on minding your mental health was a great success, say the organisers.
With a turnout of more than 150, a riveting presentation from Professor Patricia Casey and an honest question and answer session, all chaired by Dr Catherine Browne, it was an informative and inspiring event.
Professor Casey, Consultant in Adult Psychiatry at the Mater Hospital gave a wide ranging power-point presentation, dealing with the effect of mental illness and its impact on people’s lives. It caused the audience to consider what can happen when we don’t look after our mental health and how when we don’t pay attention when we’re not able to cope with small things, in serious cases we increase the risk of mental illness.
Professor Casey’s presentation was a pleasant balance of science, academics, anonymous case studies and personal anecdotes as she spoke of the experience of coping with a sick child and the impact of that on her family. She discussed the impact of the recession on people’s lives, and how the stigma of mental illness and mental ill health prevents people coming forward for help. This leads to an enormous cost for society and for the economy, she said, pointing out how professionals are dealing with an increased number of clients.
Mick Lowery of Tullamore Mental Health Association was delighted with the attendance and the presentation and was surprised, like many in the audience, when the Professor pointed out that the positive long term impact of exercise on mental health has yet to be proven.
He was pleased that every one of the mental health awareness leaflets on stress management, depression, building resilience and other topics were taken by members of the public. “It shows that there’s a genuine need among the public for information and support with managing their mental health and that of their families,’ he said.
“Overall we’re really pleased with it,’ says Finola Colgan of Mental Health Ireland, who added that a number of attendees approached the group’s chairperson Laura Geraghty with a view to volunteering with them. “Professor Casey was very much with the people,” she said and her presentation generated a valuable discussion. “The feedback was positive and people enjoyed it.”
The committee was also delighted to see a number of people who attended last year’s talk with Shane Martin and already they are enthusiastic about next year’s event. “The key message is about losing the stigma surrounding mental health issues and the ability to cope with daily life,” says Colgan.
Visit www.mentalhealthireland.ie for details of Young Mental Health Ireland Conference, open to people aged 16-25 and those who work with them, taking place in Glasson Golf Club, Athlone, Wednesday April 27.