OUR local TDs could not help but feel embarrassed when it emerged at the official opening of the new Lisheens House training and support centre at Ilen Street, Skibbereen, on Thursday afternoon of last week that it had been put in place without any government funding. Indeed, it was a reminder of the abysmal record of recent governments – the last administration in particular – when it came to funding for mental health services, which was very much the poor relation of the entire sector.
All three Cork South West TDs – Michael Collins, Jim Daly and Margaret Murphy-O’Mahony – promised to lobby for funding for the valuable services being provided by Lisheens House in its efforts to prevent suicides in the first place, aid with recovery of those affected when it does happen and its general promotion of positive mental health.
Founded by Noreen Murphy from the Bantry area, who lost her husband to suicide, and spearheaded by Dunmanway native Michael Kearns, Lisheens House provides counselling, education, training and support for people with mental health issues in its fabulous new centre, located in the former commercial printing area of The Southern Star in Skibbereen and which has a very welcoming and homely feel to it.
It is indeed a credit to their selfless drive and enthusiasm and that of all the volunteers who gave so willingly of their time and talents to convert and equip the building. It was entirely paid for by fundraising and donations and, in officially opening the centre, the former governor of Mountjoy Prison, John Lonergan, homed in very much on the great voluntary community effort involved in the setting up and running of the centre.
A strong sense of community, with everyone working for one another, provides a solid support structure for those in need of help and encouragement. The fact that such assistance is readily available in a locality should encourage people who need help in dealing with issues to seek it out and engage with the services offered.
The Lisheens House confidential helpline is 023-8888888.