June 25, 2010

Mullingar library launches Mental Health initiatives

Last week Mullingar Library launched an innovative community service which aims to give practical information on mental health issues to the public.

Staff at the library have been working with specialists from the HSE and locally based Mental Health Ireland employee Finola Colgan to devise a novel way of spreading ideas about good mental health.

The end products of the project are information leaflets, available at local health centres, on a variety of mental health issues.

The leaflets also give information on the appropriate reading materials available at the library.

"The idea came about because we found that there was so much on the new about mental illness and in particular on the topics of bereavement and suicide," said county librarian Mary Farrell.

"The staff worked with specialists in the area and we came up with the leaflet which links up the information that is available now in the library. "We looked into books that would cover areas such as bereavement, bullying, stress and low self-esteem which are just some of the issues that people face every day."

At the launch of the project Fintan Cooney Cathaoirleach Westmeath County Council described the project as "very worthwhile" and praised the efforts of the library staff.

"Sometimes people need help with everyday issues, we are not talking bout acute or severe mental illness, just everyday mental health," he said. The project identified a wide range of issues which can affect mental health including: understanding mental health, stress, anxiety, depression, self-esteem, bullying, suicide, bereavement, schizophrenia, addiction and eating disorders and leaflet has been produced on each topic.

The scheme initially will be piloted in both Mullingar and Athlone libraries, but people in any part of the county will be able to access the books and leaflets through their local library.