Being Part of A Community Group is Good for Your Mental Health

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At the recent Love Where You Live Leitrim Awards, Hubert McHugh and Valerie Cogan of Leitrim Community Psychiatric Services gave a brief presentation in honour of World Mental Health Day 2019.

Hubert McHugh and Valerie Cogan
Hubert and Valerie photographed by Eunan Sweeney

Hubert and Valerie are well known for their work on “Health is Wealth ” in Leitrim and Hubert was the 2017 Leitrim Guardian Person of the Year.


Through the course of Hubert and Valerie’s presentation they touched on the main themes of World Mental Health Day 2019 – Suicide Prevention.

In every county in Ireland, including Leitrim, the rate of suicide is much too high. Humans are naturally social…

As a way of combating isolation and protecting our mental health and wellbeing, we are encouraging people to connect:

Connect with yourself– take time to check in with your thoughts and feelings. Notice when you are feeling good and recognise when your thoughts are becoming intrusive in a negative way affecting your wellbeing.

Connect with others – connecting with others can give us a greater sense of belonging and purpose in life. Spend time with peers, organise quality time with a friend or family member, join a club or group, reach out to someone you trust if you’re feeling lonely.

Connect with Services – if you are struggling with your mental health and need extra support, connect with your GP, the local mental health service or A&E for professional help and advice.


Good Community – Good Mental Health

They went on to say that volunteering is often heralded as boosting mental health – “do good, feel good.” A 2013  review found that existing research (where the same group of people were followed overtime) showed volunteering had favourable effects on depression, life satisfaction and wellbeing.

Everyone attending Love Where You Live Leitrim Awards is a volunteer. We live in a world where we can communicate with one another like never before and yet …where people are lonely and disconnected like never before. Through their work, Hubert and Valerie find the common denominator that causes most mental health problems is loneliness and the feeling of isolation.

Talk costs nothing, helping others costs even less and the satisfaction from doing that one good deed would encourage them to do more…Tonight we are here celebrating all the wonderful work of the various voluntary organisations in Leitrim. Without all of you commiting and contributing to your own communities, Leitrim and the country would grind to a halt. It can be hard at times for committees to see what they contribute to their local area but the effect they can have on the wellbeing of people is immeasurable. No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.

Hubert and Valerie listed a number of organisations which can help with Mental Health problems in the North West.

Supports in the North West
Good List of mental health supports in the North West area.



If you are interested in volunteering, see our article on the new Volunteer Centre in Co. Leitrim – Click Here

Other articles on our website relating to mental health –

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