Major Walk on St. Stephen’s Day in aid of Elphin SOS

The Elphin SOS (Support to Overcome Suicide) group are holding a 5K sponsored walk on St. Stephen’s Day to raise money for forthcoming initiatives. In the New Year new ASIST training courses will be held in the county (see page 13).    In addition there will be a bereavement and peer support groups for 18 to 25-year-olds set up. It’s also planned to establish life skills training for parents and one to one counselling.   The SOS group aims to provide information and education on positive living and the development of a mentally healthy community. Last year the SOS group raised over €5,000 in their walk and they hope to improve on that figure this year.   Mary Parker is the treasurer of the SOS group and she is hoping for a big turnout on St. Stephen’s Day. ‘We are hoping that all sections of the community support the walk. We want as many people to get involved not only in the walk but in the SOS organisation as there are a lot of positive things happening.    ‘I am making an appeal to parents especially to become involved because positive mental health among young people is vital if we are to improve the situation with regard to suicide’ she told the Roscommon People on Wednesday.   Mary Parker say that the support of the Roscommon Lions Club has been vital in their campaign. ‘We have got great help from John F. Hanley and others in the Lions Club. We got funding in the recent past but it was only due to the hard work of the Lions Club who are really doing a great job – and I want to acknowledge that’ she said.   Plans for 2008 include ASIST courses throughout the county, Well-being Days in Elphin Community College, the setting up of a bereavement support group, life skill training courses for parents and peer support groups for 18 to 25-year-olds.   ‘The emphasis is on positive mental well-being rather than a ‘stop suicide’ approach and that is what we are trying to establish so that parents and others are able to spot the danger signs if there are any. But we want to establish positive mental health as a priority’ she concluded.   The SOS group fund-raising 5K walk will take place from the church carpark in Elphin at 12 noon on Wednesday, 26th December. Sponsorship cards are available from any member of the committee – Chairman: Paul McDermott; Vice Chairperson: Michelle Horan; Secretary: Geraldine Colleran; Treasurer: Mary Parker; PROs: Geraldine Gormley, Valerie Byrne.