‎”Breaking the Silence, Shoulder to Shoulder, with the Community”

‎”Breaking the Silence, Shoulder to Shoulder, with the Community” Conference at Greenmount Campus, Antrim, on Wednesday 16th May 2012 from 10.00am to 4.00pm

With the rising number of suicides in the rural areas of Northern Ireland the Niamh Louise Foundation commissioned two reports to specifically look at the issues of mental health, suicide and self harm in the rural areas of Tyrone and Armagh. Funded by SOAR and SWARD, Holywell Consultants and Jason Donaghy Consultant respectively, produced two detailed reports highlighting the need to create more awareness and the gap in these rural areas.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Michelle O’Neill MLA launched the reports in February of this year and offered her full support to try and tackle the issues raised within the reports. The Minister also offered to assist the Niamh Louise Foundation in their determination to create awareness on mental health, mental ill health and suicide and help reduce suicide within our rural areas in Northern Ireland.
As a result of the findings within the reports, Catherine Mc Bennett co-founder of the Niamh Louise Foundation had often discussed with their Chair Mr John Mooney and Philip Mc Taggart of PIPS Belfast, the need to create more awareness and together decided the way forward was to organise a conference. The aim is to highlight mental well being within our rural communities, bringing together communities and organisations working in the field of mental health and suicide awareness, with the view to learn new ideas and encourage forward thinking.
Over the last couple of months John, Philip and Catherine have been working together
with the support of DARD to have guest speakers attend the conference and share their
knowledge on what is already available and current programmes that will help address
mental health and suicide. The Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development,
Michelle O’Neill MLA will officially open the conference with presentations from the PHA
regarding training; Dr Walter Boyd will discuss safety on the farm in regards to mental
health; John Rafferty will discuss safety of firearms in rural areas. Dr James Galezewski, Psy.D., an American visitor who is an Associate Professor in Clinical Psychology will talk on
resilience; Malachai O’Hara will give a presentation on behalf of the rainbow project;
John Evoy co founder of the Mens Sheds project will discuss how this project will help
men and their mental health; Ian Hull will give a presentation on Rural Support and
John, Philip and Catherine will also speak on the day.
This conference is an excellent opportunity for members of the community to become involved and learn from the statutory and community organisations currently working in the field of mental health and suicide. The Niamh Louise Foundation would hope that this conference would highlight the need for members of the community to become more involved and help the foundation address the issue of mental ill health, self harm and suicide within the rural areas of Northern Ireland.

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