C-Saw founder critical of lack of mental health services in Tipp

Joe Leahy of C-Saw, Clonmel. Photo © Tipp FM.

The lack of mental health services in Tipperary is an “absolute disgrace,” according to C-Saw founder Joe Leahy.

Joe, who is at the helm of the Clonmel-based voluntary organisation that provides a drop-in support service for anyone struggling with their mental health, says their coffee mornings are about removing the stigma around mental health.

C-Saw was established to support members of the community who have lost loved ones to suicide and now extends to all people in need of support in a safe, welcoming environment without judgment.

Their mission is to help reduce the number of suicides in South Tipperary and dismantle the shame around mental health.

However, Joe says people living in Tipperary are vulnerable due to a lack of mental health services.

“It’s an absolute disgrace that we are the way we are. I’ve had meetings, and unspoken meetings with several people, and the answer is “no.” While it’s welcomed that what we have is a crisis house, it’s not the answer at all to what we want. What we want in this county is just eight beds with a place that people can go, because often times what people need is a rest to get away from the hustle and bustle in their heads or what’s going on. Two or three days, and they could be right as rain again. No, we have none of that, and the powers that be don’t see that at all. It’s totally wrong the way Tipperary is being treated.”

That being said, C-SAW coffee mornings are helping to break the stigma and normalise talking about mental health, according to Joe, who encourages members of the community to treat C-SAW like any other routine check-up, but for their minds.

He says guarding your mental health should be part and parcel of daily life and welcomes the shift in attitude towards wellbeing.

“Same as you have to go to the dentist, [it should be] “Well, one second now. I have to go meet someone today; I’m overthinking. I’m overdoing this. I’m overdoing that,” and it should become part and parcel of everyday life. It’s like everything; there are a lot of organisations out there doing things with mental health, and they’re doing fabulous work, each and every one of them, and I think a lot of it is that there’s more advertising and it’s spoken about a lot more. It’s gone away altogether, thankfully, from the hush-hush, lock you away behind closed doors. It’s gone away from all that.”