Minister Ruane was welcomed by the founders of the Niamh Louise Foundation

The Niamh Louise Foundation recently welcomed a visit from the Minister of Education, Caitriona Ruane.  The Minister accepted an invitation from the locally charity to visit Western House Coalisland on  Thursday 25th November to discuss the provision of emotional well being and suicide prevention in  primary and post primary schools.

Minister Ruane was welcomed by the founders of the Niamh Louise Foundation, James and Catherine Mc Bennett and was shown around Western House and was introduced to the facilities available within the House. The Minister was then greeted by committee members, volunteers and members of staff and engaged in a discussion around the table.

Minister Ruane with staff and founders

The Minister was given the opportunity to listen to the ideas around the table and she provided some useful feed back as to how her department wishes to enhance the emotional well being of children in our schools.

Speaking on behalf of the charity, founder Catherine Mc Bennett said, ‘we were delighted that Caitriona accepted the invitation to Western House. We feel passionate about enhancing emotional well being in the community and community and education has an important role to play to ensure this happens. Young people need to be educated in looking after their mental health and also to be confident in coming forward if they are experiencing thoughts of suicide. Teachers in schools need support in being able to handle high risk situations within the school setting, they need to know what to say and what not to say. We all need to be careful in how we react when someone is brave enough to talk about their thoughts of suicide as this is very important in the recovery process of that certain individual.  Hopefully this can be made possible through additional training.

Catherine also said, ‘it is important for everyone to know, not just teachers, that with the right intervention skills someone can recover or manage their thoughts of suicide. This might mean the person at risk may need medication, which is why the GP must always be contacted or they may avail of therapy in the form of counselling, complimentary therapy, mentoring or befriending.  One or all of these therapies may be needed depending on the individual.”

Minister Ruane with staff and volunteers

The Minister was accompanied on the day by party colleague and Mayor of Dungannon and South Tyrone Borough Council Michelle O’ Neill.  The Niamh Louise Foundation would like to thank Minister Ruane and Michelle O Neill for taking the time to visit Western House.

For further information you can contact the Niamh Louise Foundation in Coalisland on 02887740354 or email

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