Giving ‘affordable wellness for Limerick families’

Nick Rabbitts

Reporter:

Nick Rabbitts

Email:

nick@limerickleader.ie

Giving ‘affordable wellness for Limerick families’

Sara-Lee Cassidy and Fiona O'Neill, Empower Hour, Marcel Coetzee, Change Solutions, Amanda Clifford, ABC for Mental Health and Valerie Conway, The Wellness Chick and from Moms Mean Business

A group of mental health professionals have linked-up to provide “affordable wellness for families”.

Askeaton-born counsellor Sara-Lee Cassidy has founded Empower Hour.

Under this banner, a number of initiatives take place, including a weekly show on Limerick City Community Radio (LCCR), and a periodic magazine providing in depth tips on how people can improve their lives.

But at the heart of the collective though are weekly support meetings held in Angel Times at Thomas Street.

“This is the extraordinary voice of the ordinary people. It’s about making life more manageable. We offer family, wellbeing and wellness at no cost or an affordable cost through all mediums of communication,” Sara told the Limerick Leader.

On the second Thursday of each month, a one-hour workshop takes place, costing a fee of €7 – with all money pumped back into the group, be it for room hire, or money for the expert who happens to be in attendance.

Each week, there is a new focus – with the last expert being nutritional psychologist Noelle Cremins.

“She gave some very simple tips around how your mood is affected by food. We followed it up with a radio show which contained more tools and coping strategies for life,” explained Sara, a former therapist based at the Limerick Institute of Technology.

The weekly show airs on LCCR at 10.30am each Sunday.

Asked what she hopes people take from the meetings, Sara said: “I would hope people feel less alone. That they feel reconnected and recharged. That they would feel part of a community. That it’s no longer necessary for people to feel isolated, alone or go through experiences alone. That they are part of a greater community of people.”

Empower Hour is the brainchild solely of Sara.

“I’m a therapist, but I’d also gone through separation and the judicial system. I’d gone through the mill. Life happens and sometimes the direction life takes us is not always the direction we should go,” he said.

During Sara’s interview with the Limerick Leader, a man who has benefited from Empower Hour approached us to thank her personally for changing his life.

I venture this kind of feedback must mean the world to her.

She said: “I think it’s what a person gets for themselves. I don’t see it as a thank you.

“Networks can be used for manipulation, or they can be love networks which open people up to contact, to life and new experiences. That’s how I am with it,” she concluded.

For more on Empower Hour, telephone 061-412882.