Laois CONNECTS Podcasts

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Welcome to Laois Connects Podcasts where we explore a wide range of lifestyle topics with the dedicated people who are there to support you and your community in the wonderful county of Laois. Our podcasts offer a diverse and interesting range of conversations, suitable for everyone, young and old; so listen, download & share to help Laois Connect.

We hope that the podcasts will help to support and help the people of Laois to improve and bolster their wellbeing in challenging times. The podcasts were developed as part of the annual Laois CONNECTS event, which promotes mental health and wellbeing.

Hosted by
Anthony O’Prey | Health Promotion Officer (Mental Health Promotion)

*Laois Connects Podcasts have been developed and produced by the HSE Health Promotion and Improvement Team (Midlands Louth Meath CHO) and supported by Laois Partnership Company

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Laois Connects Podcasts – Season 2

Episode 1: The Power of Goal Setting
In this podcast we examine the positive impact goal setting can have in our lives. We also discuss how building and developing strong self-belief can transform our progress. With special guests Vanessa Ferreira & Jacqui Crutchley, both Life Coaches originally from South Africa, now living in County Laois.

Episode 2: The Management of Stress!
In this podcast we discuss the damaging impact of stress, what it is, how it affects us and how to reduce and manage it better in our daily lives. With special guests Michele Baker & Fiona Gallagher, both Health Promotion & Improvement Officers with the HSE (CHO8 Midlands Louth Meath).

Episode 2 – Part 2: Guided Meditation.
A short 5 minute guided meditation for general wellbeing by Fiona Gallagher. Please do not listen to this recording while driving or operating machinery; only listen when you can do so safely. Sit back, listen with headphones and enjoy a moment of self-care.

Episode 3: Living with Hope
In this podcast we explore the power of hope, how to build and protect it and how to repair it if lost because of a set-back, disappointment or personal challenge. With special guests Josephine Rigney, HSE Resource Officer for Suicide Prevention (Laois & Offaly) & Bernie Carroll, Suicide Bereavement Liaison Officer with Pieta Midlands & Counsellor Psychotherapist in Private Practice.

Episode 4: When Gambling becomes a Problem
In this podcast we examine the darker side to gambling, how and when it becomes a problem in someone’s life and how services such as Extern Problem Gambling can support people (and their family) into and through recovery. With special guests Barry Grant, Project Manager and Addiction Counsellor & Tony O’Reilly, Addiction Counsellor and Workshop Facilitator with Extern Problem Gambling.

Episode 5: An Introduction to Alcohol & Drug Addiction
In this podcast we explore alcohol & drug use and addiction. We discuss how addiction develops, how it takes hold on a person’s life and the steps people can take to overcome it with proper treatment, care and support. With special guests Orla Fagan, Service Co-Ordinator with Midlands Drug & Alcohol Treatment Supports, Merchant Quay Ireland & Marion Mulvanny, Nurse Manager with the HSE Community Alcohol Drugs Service.

Episode 6: Becoming Empowered
In this podcast we discuss self-empowerment and what it means. We explore ways in which we can empower ourselves, our children and our communities. With special guests Eileen Cunningham (Co-ordinator) & Tara Gibbons, (Peer Recovery Educator) for the HSE with Mental Health Ireland.

Episode 7: The Retiring Man
In this podcast we explore the inevitable journey towards and into retirement for men. We discuss the fears and hope many men have regarding their retirement and explore steps men can take to plan their retirement stage, ensuring they retire fulfilled and well. With special guests Liam Ramsbottom, SICAP Team leader with Laois Partnership and Tom Finery, Chairperson of Offaly Local Development Company.

Episode 8: Coercive Control within Intimate Partner Relationships
In this podcast we discuss the damaging impact coercive control has within intimate relationships and family life. We also discuss how to ask for help or support someone who is experiencing domestic abuse as well as reflect on how we can help teach young people about healthy relationships. With special guests Marna Carroll, Co-ordinator & Sean Gorman, Children & Young Persons Support Worker with Laois Domestic Abuse Service.

Episode 9: Creative Living
In this podcast we explore the health benefits to expressing ourselves using creativity. Whether it is writing a poem, painting on canvas, designing our gardens or simply arranging fresh flowers for the kitchen table, we learn why it is important to nurture our creativity. With special guests Emma Ryan, Senior Occupational Therapist & Dr. Amy Moriarty, Clinical Psychologist, with the HSE Laois Community Adult Mental Health Services.

Episode 10: ‘A Journey of Displacement’
In this podcast we learn about the journey of displacement. We listen to some of the challenges people face when they are forced to leave their home & country and rebuild a life in a new country like Ireland. With special guests, Radwan Abouhajar, Resettlement Officer with the Syrian Resettlement Project in Offaly and Bolaji Adeyanju, founder of Laois Africa Support Group.

Episode 11: ‘Drugs & Young People’
In this podcast we discuss the impact drugs have on young people and their behaviour. We also explore what parents can do to help support their children if they are affected by drug-related difficulties. With special guests, Sinead O’Shea, Assistant Service Manager & Martina Dunne, Counsellor, from Extern Midlands Youth Drugs and Alcohol Service (MYDAS).


Laois Connects Podcasts – Season 1

Episode 1: Learning is for Life
In this podcast we discuss how life-long learning can help build our confidence and resilience, the personal development journey we go through when engaged in an educational journey and how educational goals as an adult, can give our life a sense of direction. With special guests, Geraldine Grennan, Adult Guidance Counsellor with Laois Offaly ETB & Padraig Boland FET Skills manager with Laois Offaly ETB.

Episode 2: Living with Loss
In this podcast we explore the journey of Loss and Grief and the emotions we experience as we travel along it. We also discuss the steps we can take to ensure we move through this journey with self-compassion, supported by our resilience skills. With special guests, Josephine Rigney, HSE Resource Officer for Suicide Prevention (Laois & Offaly) & Bernie Carroll, Suicide Bereavement Liaison Officer with Pieta Midlands & Counsellor Psychotherapist in Private Practice.

Episode 3: Women in the Community
In this podcast we discuss the personal benefits to Women getting involved in their local Community, how it helps build self-confidence and self-esteem and how tackling community issues can help nurture resilience. With special guests, Mary Keane, Community Development Worker in the Social Inclusion Programme with Laois Partnership Company & Karen Bambrick, Youth & Community Development Worker with Laois Partnership Company.

Episode 4: Fear Less
In this podcast we discuss young people & anxiety and explore what we can do as parents to help and support our young people more. We also discuss how skills taught on the international, evidenced-based Fear Less Programme can help parents support their children who experience anxiety. With special guests, Deirdre Dowling from Midlands Area Parenting Partnership & Triple P Practitioner & Joe Thompson, Youth Officer with Laois Offaly ETB & Counsellor Psychotherapist in Private Practice.

Episode 5: Young People Ask
In this podcast we answer questions asked by young people. These questions relate to young people’s health & wellbeing including friendships, stress management and preparing for the adult world. With special guests, Natalie Hogan, Positive Laois Coordinator with Youth Work Ireland Laois and Maeve Murphy PhD, Assistant Lecturer of Psychology in IT Carlow.

Episode 6 – The Power of Gratitude
In this podcast we explore some of the proven ways in which we can protect and nurture our mental health and wellbeing. From the practice of gratitude to the act of giving, we reflect on what we can do each day to help ourselves feel better. With special guests, Michele Baker, a Health Promotion Officer with the HSE & Finola Colgan, a Development Officer with Mental Health Ireland.

About Laois CONNECTS
Laois CONNECTS Mental Health Week is a community led initiative developed to promote positive mental health and wellbeing across County Laois. This annual event takes place every October to help celebrate #WorldMentalHealthDay. The overall aim of Laois CONNECTS is to encourage people to talk about mental health, to reduce the stigma associated with mental health challenges and to encourage people to seek help if they experience any difficulties and feel they would benefit from support. It is important for us as a community to learn more about our mental health and understand its impact in our daily lives. It is also important that we learn how to support a person experiencing mental health difficulties and thereby individually and collectively contribute to the overall mental health & wellbeing of our communities. Various events such as awareness and education talks, group-led walks, etc. are scheduled to take place from 10th October to 17th October 2020 and are organised by the Laois Mental Health Collaborative Group. Members include Laois Partnership Company, Laois County Council, Laois Sports Partnership, HSE, Mental Health Ireland, Laois/Offaly ETB, SHINE, Mountmellick FRC and Youth Work Ireland.

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