Donegal GAA captain Michael Murphy has encouraged people to take a “leap of faith” and to talk to their family and friends about their mental well-being.
The Glenswilly man was guest of honour as the HSE Donegal Mental Health Services (DMHS) held a free Health and Mental Well Being Awareness Fair for the public.
The event took place in the Mill Park Hotel, Donegal Town, and attracted more than 200 people.
Michael impressed upon those present how important it was to talk out their problems and stated how it was essential to exercise in order to look after your physical and mental health.
He said he enjoyed the simple things like going for a walk with his friends on the beach and he felt that this was a good way to clear his head, especially after a difficult day on the playing field.
‘Sometimes we have to take that leap of faith and trust our family and friends to talk to about our problems and I know this is what people can find most difficult,” he said.
He talked about the benefits of getting involved in a group activity and that there were loads of different types group activities that people can get involved in.
He stressed that ‘it was important to get out there with family and friends and enjoy exercise and have the camaraderie and the craic’.
There were 30 support information stands on display on the night from a range of organisations included the Bill W Club, Carers Support, Addiction Services, Family Resource Centres, Donegal Women’s Network, AWARE, STEER, CONSOLE, GROW, ASIST, S.T.O.P Suicide, Jigsaw Donegal, GAA Health & Well Being, Blissberry Social Farm, Alzheimer’s Society, PIETA Donegal, Macra Na Feirme Mental Health Ireland plus many more.
MC for the event was John G Kelly, Assistant Director of Nursing with the DMHS.
The welcome address was given by Dr Clifford Haley, Clinical Director & Consultant Psychiatrist, DMHS who proceeded to discuss stigma and how to overcome stigmas that have in the past been associated with mental health illness.
Marian McNulty, Student Counsellor at Letterkenny Institute of Technology and, Chairperson of the Donegal GAA Health & Wellness Committee, gave a comprehensive talk on stress and how to manage it. She discussed the various ways in which stress can manifest itself and how to tackle stress in the workplace.
Kevin Mills, Area Director of Nursing, DMHS discussed the importance of collaborative working with different organisations and agencies to tackle mental health difficulties and on how no one organisation has a monopoly on dealing with these issues.
He stressed the importance of strengthening these links in to the future and how events such as this have a pivotal role to play in demonstrating to the public the vast array of supports out there that people can avail of in order to ensure that they look after their mental health and well being.
There was also a series of workshops held on Dementia, Schizophrenia and Youth Mental Health.
The workshop on Dementia was facilitated by Dr Tom McBride, Consultant in Psychiatry of Old Age with DMHS. He stated ‘this event is a wonderful opportunity to engage with the public and to discuss issues such as Dementia in order to increase people awareness of the condition’.
Trevor McBrearty, Nurse Manager with DMHS and one of the event organisers, facilitated a workshop on Schizophrenia.
He stated ‘It really was an engaging evening. As well as the interesting workshops which people participated in, the evening created an awareness of the many excellent voluntary and statutory support services that are available to people in their own area. There was an energetic atmosphere in the main hall and there were a lot of positive conversations around our mental health and well- being. I hope that those present enjoyed the event and that it has assisted in educating the public around the very many mental health difficulties that we all can face in our lives.’
During the event free Health Screening was provided by the Donegal Town HSE Primary Care Team where attendees availed of the opportunity to get their Blood Pressure and Blood Glucose checked for free!
A constant theme running throughout the evening was that physical and mental health are intrinsically linked.
At the end of the evening a draw was held and one lucky attendee left with a smile on his face after receiving a signed jersey from special guest Michael Murphy.Tags: