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Gateshead conference

Soroptimists who attended the SIGBI Conference in Gateshead promoting awareness of endometriosis with the spectacular Millennium bridge in the background


The insignia passed from (left) Anne O'Driscoll, National President 2012 / 13
to (right) Noreen Walsh, National President 2013 / 14
Centre is Margaret Oldroyd, Federation President 2013 / 14

International President Ann Garvie's project (more...)

Anne O'Driscoll's report on the Gateshead Conference (more...)
Club Projects selected by SIGBI at Gateshead, including "You Are Not Alone" presented by Sarah McCormack (more...)

Sarah McCormackSarah McCormack's Presentation at the Gateshead Conference 2013:

The Republic of Ireland have proved that taking action can be effective without fund raising through their project on suicide prevention and positive mental health.  

In Ireland suicide is the biggest cause of death amongst men and women under the age of 35- with a suicide rate ranking 5th in the E.U.

In 2011/2012 SI Mullingar and District selected Suicide Prevention and Positive Mental Health as the local project and partnered with Mullingar Mental Health Association.  During that year a number of different events were organised with the aim of creating an awareness of the importance mental health and suicide prevention.  Three significant events set the future for this to become a national project: 

  • World Mental Day education event – estimated 200 attendees
  • Youth Battle of the Bands – over 400 youths attended
  • Youth Information Card (see right)

An event on World Mental Health Day brought together all the Voluntary Organisations supporting Mental Health – up to 200 people attended. This event made a huge impact. Soroptimists did interviews for local radio and got signification exposure .

Battle of the Bands connected with the youth as each school was invited to organise their own band and a solo singer to enter “The Battle of the Bands” competition. Soroptimists organised the event – each entry had to present in song or act a mental health message. Over 400 teenage boys and girls attended. 

Youth Information Card: The Health Services identified the need for a modern Youth Information Card to be produced. An art competition was run in secondary schools to assist in providing this. (see above)

Extension of this project to be the National 2 Year Project

At The National Association meeting in 2011 it was decided that this project should be extended to become the national project for the next two years. Everyone felt that this was a real community project – one that every area needed due to the challenge that suicide is placing on the community.

Meetings with  the National Health Services Executive and National Mental Health Ireland resulted in a formalised liaison with agreed objectives for the project “Suicide Prevention and Positive Mental Health for Women and girls”.

The scale of this project, its effect and successes cannot be gleaned from the database. I was amazed to receive this report on this project when I asked for more information.

An excellent  example of Soroptimists at work.