Powerful stories at Clondalkin Talks mental health event

By Maurice Garvey

THE resounding success of the first Clondalkin Talks mental health event was a clear indicator of the need to increase awareness of existing services in the area, according to Sinn Fein Councillor Mark Ward.

Cllr Ward established Clondalkin Talks after being inspired by Tallaght Talks in 2016, and was apprehensive beforehand as to how the event was going to be received. He need not have worried.

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A huge crowd of over 200 people crammed into the Green Isle Hotel for the event last Thursday night, which featured a wonderfully diverse range of speakers, and host of local groups showcasing their services on stalls around the room.

Whilst the event focused on the serious issue of mental health, the atmosphere was uplifting and engaging.

It went better than expected – I was quite overwhelmed by the night,” said Cllr Ward.

“It showed there was a mental health vacuum that is crying out to be filled in Clondalkin. I’m blown away from the support.

The stories where powerful, varied and real. Thanks to everyone who helped and supported this. We got Clondalkin talking.”

Jennifer Clancy from Clondalkin Alcohol and Drugs Task Force chaired the event, and Senator Lynne Ruane was the opening speaker, followed by people from a mix of local mental health services.

Amongst the other speakers were Fine Gael Councillor Kenneth Egan, FM104 DJ Keith Ward, poet and writer Colm Keegan, and CEO of ASIAM, Adam Harris.

Fantastic videos were presented to the crowd, created by Crosscare, Clondalkin Youth Services.

Clondalkin father John Quinn spoke powerfully about suicide, recalling the tragic loss of his son Sean’s life in 2005, and encouraged young people to speak to someone when they feel down.

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