“Resilience is a word I never thought about”, said Kristen O’Reilly as she talked about dealing with the impact of bereavement and loss, and finding hope again. When aged 16 her father died suddenly from a heart attack. Shortly after this her mother was diagnosed with cancer, and died within 13 months of the death of her husband. She was speaking at a special diocesan ‘Mind Yourself’ event to encourage positive mental health, on Thursday 17th October at 8pm, in All Saints Mullingar.
Kristen talked of being pleased to be part of an event “that was encouraging positive mental health”. She reminded those present that we will all meet adversity. as she reflected on the journey she and her family had made through loss, finding hope again. “We learned how precious life was,” she said. From Sligo, Kristen is about to qualify as a psychiatric nurse. She hopes to eventually work in child and adolescent mental health.
The programme included a wonderfully rich selection of music. The Tullamore HSE choir, directed by Andius Koslovskis, sang a number of pieces including the Beatles hit ‘Here Comes the Sun’. The Wilson’s Hospital School Gospel Choir, directed by Freida Malone, sang several songs. Rev Philip Heak, rector of Naas union of parishes, also performed on the uilleann pipes. Soloist, Emily Ashmore, sang two pieces including ‘With You’, accompanied by Charles Marshall on piano.
Bishop Pat Storey welcomed everyone at the beginning. The evening was compered by Mark Johnston , a member of the ‘Minding Yourself’ planning team.
The combination of Kristen’s presentation and a mix of beautifully evocative music was a very effective way of inspiring mental health wellbeing and resilience. As well as being a way of reflecting on the challenges of maintaining mental health it proved to be a night of encouragement and hope.
The ‘Mind Yourself’ event was held to mark World Mental Health Day. The diocesan project aims to raise awareness and reduce stigma of mental health issues. It ended with refreshments being served for everyone in the adjacent annex.
Admission was free, with a retiring collection for the work of Aware.
The event was kindly sponsored by Mullingar Credit Union.