This year, the Laois Connects Programme, co-ordinated by Laois County Council will take place from the 1st October to the 31st of October 2022. Events are spread throughout the county and there should be something for everyone in the schedule of events.
Laois Connects organising Committee represents Laois County Council, Laois Sports Partnership, Laois PPN, HSE, Laois Partnership Company, Mental Health Ireland, Mountmellick Youth and Family Resource Centre, Mountmellick Community School, LOETB, Healthy Ireland,
The Cathaoirleach of Laois County Council, Councillor Thomasina Connell had the following message for the people of Laois;
“ The Laois Connects initiative is important , especially in the current climate, where people may be under pressure or stressed. It steers us to thinking about our mental health & wellbeing, and it prompts us to prioritise it. The last number of years have been difficult, and it is vital that we take the time to look after ourselves- connecting to communities and talking to people is more important than ever. The phrase “ A problem shared is a problem halved “ as ever, rings true and Laois Connects encourages the people of Laois to reach out to each other- friends, family, community, or to the many services that are there to help”
Ms. Josephine Rigney, Resource Officer for Suicide Prevention with the HSE and a member of the Laois Connects Organisation Committee offers these words of advice and encouragement;
“Each and every day we are all faced with the challenges of life – some within our control and some which are outside of our control. Because of this, it is so important that we take the time to focus on ourselves and our wellness, both mentally and physically. What are the things that we can do to build up our emotional resilience and wellbeing? Laois Connects reminds us that there are activities that we can all do to mind our emotional and mental health, whether this is keeping active, looking after our physical health, staying in touch with others, having a chat if we need to talk about something, or just doing something that we enjoy and get meaning from. Keeping ourselves mentally and physical well on an ongoing basis is a gift that we can give to ourselves and one that will enable us to navigate and cope with the ups and downs and challenges of everyday life. It is important also to be aware that sometimes we may need some support from others and we don’t have to do it all on our own. Reach out to your support system – family, friends or someone you can trust. Connect in with the various supports and services that are available – they are there for you and anyone who may need some help and support. Check out www.connectingforlifemidlandslouthmeath.ie or www.yourmentalhealth.ie or Freephone: 1800 111 888 for a list of local and national services. “
Finola Colgan Development Officer Mental Health Ireland Midlands Louth and Meath said;
” it is very timely to address mental health matters given the current changes taking place.. The theme of 2022’s World Mental Health Day, set by the World Federation for Mental Health, is ‘Make mental health and wellbeing for all a global priority’. The overall aim is to get the public to place mental health on a par with physical health. We all have mental health needs as we with physical health. However , when we find ourselves struggling, feeling unable to cope our mental health can be undermined. Laois Connects is providing a wonderful opportunity to learn more about our mental health and the supports that are available at such times. Equally important throughout the month is the emphasis on activities that we can partake in to support and enhance our mental health.”
Among the events planned are Tai Chi Yoga classes, being offered by Laois County Council’s Sport and Leisure Department. These classes will be delivered at various locations throughout the county.
Laois Sports Partnership are delivering the Prime Time of Life program along with the Menowell program . Activator Pole sessions, which are always popular will also be scheduled throughout the month.
The Laois & Offaly Training Board (LOETB), in conjunction with Laois Libraries are providing a series of workshops on Mindfulness, along with Mindful Art sessions.
There will be a HSE information event taking place in Laois Shopping Centre on the 14th of October and the Sing For Joy choir will be performing on the 19th of October in the Parish Centre in Portlaoise.
A number of shows with a mental health theme will take place in Portlaoise & Portarlington, delivered by the Dunamaise Arts Theatre.
There is an opportunity to attend an open – mic event to discuss the topics of “Living with Hope” and “ Living with Loss”, two of the topics in the Laois Connects Podcast series, on 25th October in the Parish Centre- http://laoispartnership.ie/ laois-connects-podcast/.
We encourage everyone to get out walking & running in the fresh air and we have listings of walks in Laois along with Park Run & Junior Park Run events .
Further details regarding dates, times, locations of all events will be issued soon.
Some of the members of Laois Connects Organising Committee pictured with Cathaoirleach of Laois County Council, Cllr. Thomasina Connell supporting the initiative.