Community Mental Health Awareness


The Laois Connects 2023 Health & Wellbeing Programme, led by Laois County Council will take place from the 9th October to the 15th of October 2023. Events are happening throughout the county and there should be something for everyone in the schedule of events.

The Laois Connects 2023 Programme is a collaboration between Laois County Council, Laois Sports Partnership, Laois PPN, HSE, Mental Health Ireland, Portlaoise Youth and Family Resource Centre, Mountmellick Community School, LOETB, Healthy Laois, Laois Libraries, Jigsaw Laois Offaly, Dunamaise Arts Centre and Youthwork Laois.

The Cathaoirleach of Laois County Council, Councillor Paschal McEvoy  had the following message for the people of Laois;

The  Laois Connects initiative is an important wellbeing initiative and this years focus on “Anxiety” will especially resonate with people. I encourage all ages to attend events during the programme and to begin to  or continue to be aware of your mental health, in what is a busy world. “

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;

“Every one of us are faced with the challenges of life, no matter what age or at what point we are in life.  Some of these challenges are within our control and some are outside of our control.    It is important that we are able to deal with these challenges and our armour to do this is our emotional wellness.   Therefore we need to take the time to focus on ourselves and promoting our wellness.  Laois Connects reminds us that there are things that we can 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 physically 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 or 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 2023’s World Mental Health Day, set by the World Federation for Mental Health, is Mental Health is A Universal Human Right and Laois Connects is focussing this year on Anxiety. 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 do 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, and a willow weaving workshop being offered by Laois County Council’s, Sport and Leisure Department. These classes will be delivered at various locations throughout the county. Check on for further details.





Laois Sports Partnership are delivering Activator Pole sessions, which are always popular will also be scheduled throughout the week. They will also have  4 Inclusive activity days for all abilities, during September and October. They will also provide mental health talks by  Laois Hurler Ross King in Mountrath & Mountmellick Secondary Schools. Boxer Eric Donovan will also have a Public Talk , with a time and venue yet to be confirmed.. watch our socials for updates.


We encourage everyone to get out walking & running in the fresh air and we have listings of walks in Laois to get you out to stretch the legs.

On Thursday the 12th of October,  the Dunamaise Arts Centre in Portlaoise will host “ Mind Yourself Day” , starting with a screening of “Lakelands” and a panel discussion with Positive Laois, Jigsaw Laois Offaly and former Laois Paralympian, Ailish Dunne. The screening is free for students.


In the afternoon, from 2pm, there will be a series of presentations and talks, starting with a talk by the HSE Psychiatry of Later Life , which is entitled “ Anxiety and its Management”and presented by the Psychiatry of Later Life Team. This will be followed by a presentation by Joe Tierney, of the Technological University of the Shannon- the presentation theme is “ Re-imaging Aging Through Outdoor Adventure. This will be of interest to people who are or who want to be active as they age , to activity providers and anyone who is engaging or providing services to Older adults.


Janice O Brien from the LOETB will then deliver a demo and Q & A session on

“ Nutrition for Older Adults”.


There will be various information stands there during the afternoon.



At 7pm, there will be a  Mindfulness Gallery tour  led by Laura Dunne, of the Dunamaise Arts Centre followed at 8pm by a complimentary Sound Meditation Session given by the Golden Egg Clinic. Both of these will take place at the Dunamaise.


At 7pm on the 12th also , there will also be an online “ Parenting the Tech Savvy Child Webinar” delivered by Dr Richard Hogan of the Parenting & Technology


The Dunamaise Arts Centre are also showing “Nothing Compares” – the Sinéad O Connor documentary during the week also



Further details regarding dates, times, locations of all events will be issued soon.

You are welcome to visit our website or follow us on social media for updates……….


Check on  or on our social channels for further details.








Cathaoirleach of Laois County Council, Paschal McEvoy and some of the members of Laois Connects 2023 Committee pictured supporting the initiative.


Members of Laois Connects organising committee , with Chief Executive of Laois County Council, John Mulholland


Josephine Rigney, HSE,

Laura Dunne, Dunamaise Arts Centre,

Dan Bergin, Laois PPN2

Catríona Slattery, Laois Sports Partnership

Tom Curran, Community Section, Laois County Council

Audrey Brennan, Sports & Leisure Section, Laois County Council

John Mulholland, Chief Executive, Laois County Council

Anne Marie Kirrane, Community Section, Laois County Council

Emma O Connor, Healthy Laois County Council

Frances Kerry, Mountmellick Community School

Gillian Cunningham, LOETB



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