‘Wellness Bus’ in drive to boost mental health

In the first of its type in the country, a mobile unit is on the roads of West Cork helping to promote good mental health.

The Cumasú, or the “Wellness Bus” as it is known, was launched yesterday by Kathleen Lynch, minister of state responsible for mental health.

Its first outings were to Kealkil village and Dunmanway, but it is envisaged the bus will visit many locations in the region in the coming weeks and months ahead.

Cumasú which means “to empower” or “to redeem” is a community project undertaken by the HSE South’s West Cork Mental Health Services in partnership with the National Learning Network, RehabCare, West Cork Development Partnership and service user groups.

Staff on the bus will also provide physical, mental and social wellbeing services for the whole community through initiatives rooted in recovery and social inclusion.

The bus is also equipped with laptops, a projector and a library of self-help material.

It’s funded by the Genio Trust, which supports innovative projects that positively impact on the lives of people in Ireland who are marginalised in society.

Michael Bambrick, director of nursing with the HSE South’s West Cork Mental Health Services, said the bus would promote social inclusion by bringing people together in utilising the bus as a space for creative and novel initiatives.

“In the pilot stage, a successful photographic exhibition was run in which community members submitted old photos for display and Cumasú is to continue to place a strong focus on the arts by exploring further local initiatives and endorsing new creative ventures through fine art, music, stories, film and the creative art therapies. Cumasú covers all spectrums from the cradle to the grave and is fully inclusive of different aspects of society,” Mr Bambrick said.

Ms Lynch said, in addition to promoting the concept of recovery, the project facilitates community integration by providing a meeting space and a means of bridging the gaps between the ideas of mental, physical, and social wellness.

* Communities who would like the Wellness Bus to visit them are asked to contact Cumasú on 086 7916300 or e-mail: info@cumasu.com


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