Mayo Mental Health Fair (MMHF ) recently held a hugely successful Mental Health awareness-raising event in The Ballina Arts Centre.
May was nationally designated Green Ribbon month and Mayo Mental Health Fair marked the event in Mayo by holding the conference to highlight mental health awareness and to say 'no' to stigma.
MMHF is made up of a number of partners who organised the event, including Mental Health Ireland, HSE Connecting for Life, Employability Mayo, Irish Donkey Welfare Organisation, Mayo Recovery College, Bealach Nua, Shine and Green Ribbon campaign.
Just as the pink ribbon became a symbol for breast cancer awareness, the green ribbon has been established as the international symbol for mental health awareness and has been introduced to Ireland by See Change.
The aim of the Green Ribbon campaign is to make the month of May synonymous with promoting open conversation about mental health and challenging the stigma of mental health issues.
An impressive line-up of people with lived experience as well as family members and community workers enlightened and inspired, by sharing resources they offer to support recovery and sharing their personal stories. The fair also hosted three free workshops including laughter yoga, meditation and drumming, which were filled to capacity.
On the day, local man, John Higgins, a bereaved parent, campaigner and activist, opened proceedings by telling the audience about the unexpected shocking and deeply traumatic loss of his son to suicide, on his family. He told the event: "The idea of a fair highlighting services available is a great idea. Everyone copes differently and it’s good to know that there is something out there for everyone.”
This was followed by Elaine Browne, who told her extraordinary story about lying in a psychiatric bed for weeks and months with no desire to live, planning the next attempt on her life, to where she is today - a successful businesswoman and winner of Mayo Woman of The Year Award 2018. She said: "My recovery hasn’t been perfect but I’ve learnt from everything. I had to get to know myself and for me it has been really important to find meaning and purpose in life,” she told those present.
For more information, visit www.hse.ie and search for ‘National Office for Suicide Prevention training’ or contact Mayo Mental Health Association on (094 ) 9038148.