Oct 07 2010 Posted: 00:00 IST
This year's Rose of Tralee and NUI Galway Psychology graduate Clare Kambemettu yesterday (06 October) launched Mental Health Week, 10 to17 October at the University. Along with launching a comprehensive programme of events surrounding 'Building Resilience - to protect mental health and wellbeing', the Rose also launched a MyStudentBody website dealing with mental health and wellbeing issues for students and parents and a Bobby Baker Art Exhibition which runs from 6 to 30 October. Clare Kambemettu, from Athy in County Kildare, graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from NUI Galway in 2005 and continued her studies in the University by completing a higher Diploma in Arts, Psychology Conversion in 2006. This is the first time that Clare has returned to NUI Galway in her official capacity as International Rose of Tralee. The programme for Mental Health Week is very varied including, societies events, a Graduate Jobs Fair, opportunities to volunteer with the Alive Volunteering Programme, and the chance to be physically active with Sports and Recreation. A keynote session, of 'Laughter Yoga' will also take place on 14 October. In the session laughter is simulated as a body exercise in a group and soon turns into real contagious laughter, leaving participants feeling happy, healthy and energised. The MyStudentBody® website is a comprehensive online programme originating from the USA which tackles the most relevant health issues on college campuses today including alcohol, drugs, sexual health, tobacco, nutrition, and stress. Using a unique three prong approach, MyStudentBody reaches students, parents, and administrators with information that aims to improve students' daily lives and overall wellness. The website aims to reduce student health risks on the individual and campus community level, empower families with strategies and tools for supporting student health, find strategies and apply data to strengthen prevention initiatives. The Bobby Baker Diary Drawing Exhibition entitled 'Mental Illness and Me, 1997 – 2008', depicts Bobby's experiences of day hospitals, acute psychiatric wards, 'crisis' teams and a variety of treatments, while coping with personal mental illness. The drawings chart the ups and downs of her recovery, family life, work as an artist, breast cancer and just how funny all this harrowing stuff can be. Bobby Baker herself will give an illustrated talk on Wednesday, 13 October at 8pm at the Bank of Ireland Theatre. She will explore how painting, breathing and madness led her to create the remarkable series of drawings on which the exhibition is based. Speaking at the launch of Mental Health Week, Administrative Officer of Student Services at NUI Galway, Matt Doran said, "In these times when there is so much apparent hopelessness, the advice of the recently beatified John Henry Newman who is often quoted in relation to University Education is very relevant: "Let us act on what we have, since we have not what we wish". When we actively seek out "what we have", we will find a lot of positives and this is key to Building Resilience and coping skills, the theme of this year's Mental Health Week."