Psychologist Dr. Fergus Heffernan urged that hope should be the key message for Limerick Mental Health week, as he spoke to a crowd of over 300 people at the Millennium Theatre in LIT on Monday evening.
Known for his inspirational talks, Dr. Heffernan holds qualifications as a psychologist, a psychotherapist, a family therapist, a scientist and a biologist, but says in reality, he is an educationalist.
The two-hour talk focused on mental health and anxiety, through a balance of facts and humour. Dr Heffernan shared his personal life stories and lessons in a unique way that related to the listener.
This is the 12th time Dr. Heffernan has visited Limerick to speak about mental health:
“I love Limerick, when I first came to Limerick to present, I probably came at a time where it was a very difficult city with the gang wars but I always got great hope coming out of Limerick. There was a great spirit there among people, in the middle of all that was going on. Maybe that’s what always draws me back, there’s a great spirit in Limerick people. It’s a town full of hope”, he said.
Jennifer Moran Stritch, lecturer at LIT, said it’s fantastic to be able to host such an event and to be connected to Limerick Mental Health week:
“Fergus was with us last year through the great efforts of the Limerick Mental Health Association, and they wanted to schedule him again. Originally I thought oh gosh would people want to come along to see the same guy, but we have an even bigger crowd here today.”
Patrick Fitzgerald, Project Manager of Limerick Mental Health week said that looking at how full the room is speaks volumes:
“Last year we had him in a classroom that was full but this year we filled the Millennium Theatre. That alone shows how much of an attraction he is, how he speaks about mental health and how important it is for him to be part of the week. You see someone like that who can come in and talk about mental health and just break it down on a human level, and that’s what it’s all about.”
Speaking about the popularity of Dr. Heffernan and what makes him so appealing to the public, Jennifer Moran Stritch said:
“Some of those attending the event have seen Dr Heffernan speak three or four times. He knows what he’s at, he knows how to work with the crowd. He expressed things that are very real for us right now in Ireland 2016, things that we have lost track of but things that are important like minding ourselves, self-care, and anxiety. You think that mental health is a taboo subject but it isn’t. I think people are hungry to talk about it, learn about it, and practice it.”