New strategy aims to improve mental health services in Limerick

Hannah Kelly, Gary Donnellan, Sarah Cauliaut and Maddie Jha, attending the launch of the Limerick Mental Health Strategy at the Engine Buildings

Hannah Kelly, Gary Donnellan, Sarah Cauliaut and Maddie Jha, attending the launch of the Limerick Mental Health Strategy at the Engine Buildings

A MAJOR new strategy launched in the city aims to increase access to mental health services in Limerick city.

The Limerick Mental Health Association has unveiled its ‘Promoting Positive Mental Health' strategic plan 2018 to 2021, with a special event at the Engine building in Cecil Street.

The group, which runs the Le Cheile support service at Presentation Court, and organises the annual Limerick Mental Health Week, has put in place four overarching ‘goals’, and various key actions which it has pledged to deliver upon.

Among these, plans are in place to improve Le Cheile’s drop in service in the city, by refurbishing its facilities, training more volunteers and extending opening times.

The group also plans to identify and engage with groups who may be at increased risk of mental health issues, such as migrant communities, young people and isolated older people.

The strategy also outlines a goal to work with local organisations to foster community mental health through arts, sporting and leisure activities.

And it will also engage in research to strengthen the understanding of the myriad of mental health issues across Limerick.

Each year, Limerick Mental Health Association will review the strategy and suggest improvements, and introduce new goals.

Jennifer McMahon, the chairman of the association, said: “This has been a long time in coming. It was not an easy task to pull this all together. But it was a project of passion and one which shows just how far the Limerick Mental Health Association has come. To see everybody putting into the plan, attending meetings, coming to consultation and our funders, the HSE, taking such a huge interest in it. People couldn’t have been more helpful.”

Noreen De Barra, a regular user of the Le Cheile services, says the support afforded to her has changed her life.

“Little did I think  two years ago that when I pressed the red button on the door at Presentation Court in Le Cheile that it would open a whole new world to me. The welcome I received was second to none. I have found the creative writing classes very therapeutic and enjoyable. I hadn’t written in over 40 years, and was pleasantly surprised to find this latent talent come to the fore,” she said.

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