The Nenagh Éire Óg Healthy Club Project team hosted a very successful ‘Well Being and Mental Health’ seminar at the Abbey Court Hotel on Friday, January 24th.
The event represented an opportunity for club members and the wider community to become informed on the many issues surrounding depression and mental health. Indeed, the event attracted over 150 members of the public to the Abbey Court Hotel for a warmly-received seminar.
Speakers on the night included Cloyne’s Conor Cusack and Séamus Hennessy (Kilruane MacDonagh’s). In addition a number of organisations were present with information pertaining to the critical area of mental health.
Master of ceremonies for the night was juvenile club chairman Michael Geaney who is the team leader for the Nenagh Éire Óg Healthy Club Project. Michael is joined on the Healthy Club Project team by Nuala Connolly (team admin), Tom Moylan (children’s officer) and community representatives Clare Slattery and Greg Browne. Aside from a speech made by Michael Geaney, Clare Slattery, Greg Browne and Tom Moylan also spoke.
Meanwhile the event featured keynote speeches from Conor Cusack and Séamus Hennessy.
Conor Cusack, who featured for Cork in 2006 All-Ireland final, spoke passionately about his own mental health issues and stigma which often gets attached to people who suffer from mental illness. Conor revealed that for many years he had lived his life “trying to please others”, suffered from panic attacks and lapsed into depression before finally emerging from his difficulties to live a life “true to himself”.
In an emotional address Conor Cusack explained how he once was “utterly convinced that my family and friends would be better off without me around”, but that he now lived “life not as a problem to be solved, but as a mystery to be lived”.
Conor Cusack highlighted the fact that individuals in Ireland were exposed to “unhealthy levels of stress and anxiety” and he appealed to people to seek help.
“There is no shame, no weakness and no softness in admitting that you have a problem with your mental health,” Conor Cusack explained.
“You are not alone; you don’t have to carry that burden on your own,” he said.
“It takes a community to raise a child,” Conor Cusack explained.
“This problem won’t be solved at a national level. Things can only change at a local level. I can’t emphasise enough how important community is.”
“It’s okay not to feel okay,” the Cloyne man concluded.
Séamus Hennessy, a highly decorated Kilruane MacDonagh’s hurler, spoke passionately and highlighted the “impact one person can have on another person”.
Séamus Hennessy insisted that the most important aspect to the seminar was “what happens next”.
Séamus asked everyone in attendance to work to help other people.
“It’s about people, community and taking action,” Séamus Hennessy said.
In one anecdote Séamus revealed that he had recently encountered Fionnbar Walsh, the father of Kerry teenager Dónal Walsh – although Dónal Walsh died from cancer he had campaigned prior to his death in the area of mental health.
“Dónal Walsh’s father told me that if you can’t have an impact among your own then what can you do,” Séamus Hennessy said as he emphasised a key theme: community.
“My fundamental idea is that people help people. It’s about having an impact on one person in your community if you can,” Séamus Hennessy, who sadly lost his own mother to suicide, explained.
“What sort of community exists if we don’t care for one another,” Séamus said.
Séamus Hennessy paid tribute to Michael Geaney and Clare Slattery for the vision they showed to “create a stronger community”.
Nenagh Éire Óg club chairman Jim Nagle brought proceedings to close when he encouraged everyone present to “reach out to one person and spread the message”.
The Nenagh Éire Óg Healthy Club Project team would like to thank Proctor & Gamble and the North Tipperary Leader Partnership for their fantastic support.
To learn more about the The Nenagh Éire Óg Healthy Club Project please click here.
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