Loughrea Community Education Series a Success

A recent edition of the GROW hosted Community Education Programme entitled “Understanding and Minding your Mental Health” has successfully concluded in Loughrea, Co. Galway.

This series of free information evenings took place in Loughrea Hotel & Spa over 4 weeks in November 2013. The talks aimed to raise awareness about suicide & mental health supports available in the local community. Each evening covered a different topic related to mental health, with talks from guest speakers.

A variety of topics were covered over the 4 weeks. Topics covered included ‘Understanding Mental Health’, ‘Suicide Awareness & Prevention’, and ‘Services in Loughrea’.

Contributors (L-R): Paul from GROW, Michael from Bethany Bereavement, Ruairi from GROW, Geraldine from Loughrea Traveller Movement, Breda from AWARE, Francis from Loughrea HSE Mental Health Services

Contributors (L-R): Paul from GROW, Michael from Bethany Bereavement, Ruairi from GROW, Geraldine from Loughrea Traveller Movement, Breda from AWARE, Francis from Loughrea HSE Mental Health Services

Week 1 & 2 were based around an introduction to metal health, treatment options, resilience and recovery. The content was presented by GROW staff Paul & Christine. This was followed on by content around the topic of Suicide Prevention and Awareness in Week 3. The topic of suicide has become a subject of major concern in east Galway in recent times. Excellent contributions were given by Tom from Pieta House, Mary from the National Office for Suicide Prevention and Marie from Console. Mary’s talk featured a lot of information about the prevention of suicide and current awareness campaigns. Tom talked about the free counselling service provided by Pieta House and the opening of their new premises in Tuam. Marie gave details of the bereavement services provided by Console for those who have been bereaved by suicide. Overall the content on the topic of suicide was of extremely high quality, and of great benefit to all.

The final week focussed on free services in Loughrea, including an emphasis support groups in the area. The local HSE mental health services gave a great presentation on their service. They talked about initial procedures involved when a person experiencing mental distress seeks help through the health services. They also talked about the long term treatment plans available. Loughrea mental health services sees itself as a ‘recovery based’ service, and strongly recommends that people access the free voluntary services in their local area. It was an enlightening talk for all in attendance.

Also in the final week there was a focus on local support groups in Loughrea. There were contributions by Christine from SHINE, Breda from Aware, Michael from Bethany Bereavement, Geraldine from Loughrea Traveller Movement and Paul from GROW. A particular thanks goes to GROW members Kay and Ray for giving very honest and thought provoking personal testimonies.

Overall, there was great feedback from attendees. The variety of topics covered, an increased understanding of local services and the powerful personal testimonies were seen as the main plus points.

It is hoped that, at the end of the 4 weeks, all attendees have a better understanding of mental health & a good overall knowledge of the services in their area.