CUSTOMERS and visitors to the Fairgreen Shopping Centre may have encountered Jo Donohue and the team from Carlow Mental Health Association (CMHA) recently when they set up this year’s feelgood campaign Hello Carlow, how R U?
They were encouraging local people to look out for one another by actually listening to the answer when they asked someone how they were. The campaign, now in its fifth year, was all about making face-to-face contact with people and giving them an opportunity to drop the mask and reveal their true feelings when asked the question “how are you?”
The campaign also highlighted how older people in our communities suffer from isolation and loneliness. “Living alone affects people of all ages – not just the older members of the community. Human contact can make a difference, especially when we’re living in a time where everybody communicates on their phones and online,” explains local volunteer Sinead Tynan. “We often ask ‘how are you?’ but rarely do we give enough time to wait for a meaningful answer. Even making eye contact when you ask the question and waiting for an answer could make a real difference to somebody who is struggling.”
There were free events all over the county as part of the campaign and in Carlow town both IT Carlow and Carlow College took part, when students availed of free coffee and some positive mental health messages.
With the leaving and junior cert exams starting tomorrow, Wednesday, it mightn’t be a bad time to ask a young person how they’re holding up to the stress and then actually listen to their answer.