CARLOW Mental Health Association Committee gathered recently to celebrate winning an award from the local chamber of commerce. CHMA scooped the Community Group category at the end of last year, but it was only in February that they finally got the chance to get together and celebrate their great achievement.
“From the time we won this award, we felt it was in recognition of the work of all who served on the CMHA Committee over the years and certainly not an achievement for this current committee alone – so we wanted to acknowledge all of those people,” said chairperson Rita Kelly.
Committee members since 2010 were contacted and about 30 people got together on Thursday 23 February in the Talbot Hotel, Carlow.
Martin Rogan, CEO of Mental Health Ireland (MHI), to which CMHA is affiliated, Gina Delaney, development officer with MHI, and Linda Thorpe, a former development officer of MHI, who was instrumental in establishing the association in Carlow, all attended the celebration party.
The members took a trip down memory lane by looking over old photographs, reminiscing about China cups in pop-up cafés during Mensana (the mental health festival) and the fun and games that were had, but also the sad stories and distressing phone calls received and dealt with over the years. There was even a story about a romance which began in one of the pop-up cafés and is still going strong.
“While this event catered for the committee members only, it has to be acknowledged that so many other people in Carlow have also been instrumental in maintaining and promoting the work of CMHA,” continued Rita.
“They include all those businesses, community groups and individual practitioners and supporters who work with us, and without whom the work of the association is not possible. Behind each committee member also is a family who carry on without their mam, dad, and/or significant other for days or hours on end when Mensana is looming, or any of our ongoing events. Those who carry heavy bags and pop-up stands, put up signs and take them down again and listen to thunder when things don’t go to plan.
“So alongside former and current CMHA members, we would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has been involved in any way with us over the years. Thanks to Carlow chamber for its recognition of the work of the association, and CHMA looks forward to continuing to work in Carlow to achieve the aims of the association, which remain unchanged since 2010 – to promote conversations around mental health in an attempt to reduce stigma and encourage people to seek help, to signpost them to appropriate services and to offer ongoing events and information to the public around positive mental health.”