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Tragic loss of sisters inspires mental health campaign

A LOCAL woman who lost two of her sisters to suicide has organised a Masquerade Ball to support the mental health and suicide prevention programmes that Oak Healthy Living Centre delivers.
In August, Emma Reilly was walking the Camino De Santiago in Spain when she came up with the idea of the Gala Ball to raise awareness and much needed money for suicide prevention and mental health initiatives within the local area. 
Emma Reilly tragically lost her sisters Shauna and Michelle within two months of each other.
Shauna Reilly (23) died suddenly in December 2016, while her older sister Michelle Reilly (33) died just weeks after in February 2017. 
Emma and her family became involved with Oak Healthy Living at Darkness into Light in 2017, and she believes local people ‘are so fortunate to have an amazing centre right on our doorstep but many people don’t even realise it is there.’
The fundraising Masquerade ball is taking place on February 23rd in the Westville Hotel and the funds raised will be used to support the delivery of mental health and well-being programmes at the Lisnaskea Centre. 
Emma explains, “When we lost Shauna and Michelle as a family our lives changed forever. What helps me is helping others. 
“The Oak provided somewhere welcoming without awkward questions and from then onwards we have kept in touch.
“Services and charities like Oak Healthy Living are the future. It is these centres that can and do make the difference to peoples lives when they need it most.
“It is also about creating an awareness about these services. So many times I have heard that Fermanagh has nothing to offer. 
“The community has lost faith in the mental health service and so many times I have heard them say they haven’t heard of this centre, yet it exists and it has the capacity to help. If one life is saved and one family saved from the grief following the death of a loved one through suicide the event will have been a success,” said Emma.
Emma believes that the NHS can only do so much in regards mental health and is calling for the support of communities in Fermanagh.
“For too long we have been looking to the government and the NHS for answers, the answers are within ourselves, helping others, being a community and utilising the services we do have, signposting people in the right direction and believing we can make a difference,” she said.
“Communities, not governments save lives.”
The tickets for the Ball are almost sold out, but there is a lot of raffle tickets for sale at £1 each. Contact Oak Healthy Living Centre for more information. 
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The Fermanagh Herald is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
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