‘Minding Our Minds’ – Free Directory to be Launched

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Time Out: A lone figure is silhuetted against the sunlit waters of the Shannon. ©Photograph: John Reidy

A new and comprehensive guide to mental health support services throughout Kerry will be launched at the Open Our Minds Mental Wellness Exhibition at the Brandon Hotel, Tralee, on this Sunday, November 29th.
‘Minding Our Minds: A Guide to Supports and Services’ is an information resource for those experiencing challenges to their emotional well-being.
The free directory has been produced by the Killarney voluntary group, ‘Be Aware ! Prevent Suicide’, which has organised four mental wellness exhibitions to date.
Kerry Peer Support Network, one of the services listed in the directory, will also be launching its plans for further expansion of its recovery support services in Kerry at the Brandon exhibition.

Prevent Suicide
“Be Aware! Prevent Suicide is committed to being a bridge between the community in Kerry and service providers, both voluntary and statutory,” Be Aware chairperson and founder, Deirdre Fee said.
“We are committed to de-stigmatising mental health issues by talking about them, by informing our community about them—the signs, the symptoms, as well as the help and support that is available,” she said. “By working together and talking to each other we can mind our minds and the minds of our families and community,” she said.
“There is a wealth of highly trained support and service providers in the county, and nationally, who can help us deal with the life-changing events and traumas that challenge our emotional well-being,” she said. “Their contact details, along with the services they provide are listed in ‘Minding Our Minds’.”
The chairperson said that the publishing of 80,000 copies of the directory had been made possible by the generosity of the Kerry public in supporting fund-raising for Be Aware!Prevent Suicide.

Key Fundraising Events
She acknowledged the support of key fund-raising events and groups such as Cycle for Suicide Prevention in Memory of Stephanie O’Sullivan, the Charity Fashion Show in Memory of Stephen O’Sullivan, Social Inclusion and Community Activation Programme (SICAP), North, East and West Kerry Development, ‘Calendar Girls Rev up for Charity’ and the ESB.
She said that 55,000 copies of the free directory would be distributed to homes in Kerry while the balance would be donated to third level colleges and second level schools.
“The guide has realised all our expectations thanks to the support of so many people who fundraised and worked to make it a reality,” Ms Fee said. “We believe it will be an invaluable resource for Kerry.”
“The next step will be to generate the finance to ensure its delivery to every home,” she said. “We would appreciate any help in this regard. Ideally, a mail shot by An Post would be the most efficient means of delivery but this is expensive.”

Mental Wellness Exhibition
Ms Fee said that recovery will be the theme of the Mental Wellness Exhibition which will follow the successful formula of information stands, workshops and public speakers.
Stories and insights on recovery will be communicated chiefly by professionals and people who have journeyed through wellness with the support of Kerry Peer Support Network which opened its first Recovery Centre in Tralee in 2013.
The centre was developed by a consortium of members including Tralee Mental Health Association, Irish Advocacy Network and Kerry Mental Health Services.
At the exhibition, the Network will unveil plans to roll out this model via other satellite centres throughout Kerry over the coming year.
Through the network’s Peer Support programmes, individuals listen to others who have dealt with similar experiences. They learn to move beyond illness and are provided with opportunities to seek out new pathways and meaning towards living a full life.

Recovery Groups
“The Network is an example of what the community can do,” Brenda Healy of Tralee Mental Health Association said. “Through our joined efforts we have successfully established something quite new and innovative here in Tralee. We now run recovery groups in the Mental Health Unit-Tralee General Hospital and at Rahoonane Community Centre. We also offer WRAP (Wellness Recovery Action Plan) training, free of charge to community groups around the county.”
Jim Breen of Cycle Against Suicide will be the MC at the exhibition which runs from 1pm to 6pm at the Brandon Hotel on Sunday, November 29th.
Contacts: Deirdre Fee: 086 23 08 788. Brenda Healy: 086 80 79 204.