Health Board: upcoming conferences, talks, campaigns and events

Employers across Ireland are encouraged to host an event on national Workplace Wellbeing Day on April 13th

1) A free six-week support programme for those with prostate cancer begins on Wednesday, March 21st at 1pm in the ARC Cancer Support Centre, 559 South Circular Road, Dublin 8. The weekly workshops will cover issues including stress management, physical health, emotional wellbeing, and sexual functioning. Booking on 01-7078880 or email

2) A free eight-week programme on coping with secondary cancers will begin on Friday, March 23rd at 11am in the ARC Cancer Support Centre, Eccles Street, Dublin 7. Fatigue, nutrition, relationships and treatment options will be covered. Booking on 01-8307333 or email:

3) Disability campaigner Joanne O'Riordan is the keynote speaker at the Pramerica Spirit of Community Awards in the Aviva Stadium, Dublin on Thursday, March 22nd. The awards will recognise 20 Irish teenagers for their outstanding commitment to volunteering in their local communities. The 2018 finalists are involved with a variety of charities and organisations throughout the 32 counties, including St Vincent De Paul (SVP), Cycle Against Suicide and Concern Worldwide. The programme is run in partnership with The National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals, the General Teaching Council for Northern Ireland (GTCNI). O'Riordan is one of only seven people in the world living with a rare physical disability known as Total Amelia. She was born without all four limbs. She has spoken at the United Nation's International Telecommunications Conference in New York, worked with Apple to develop technology for people with disabilities and now travels the world telling her unique story and tackling stigma around physical disabilities.

4) Dublin City University will be formally designated as an Autism Friendly University by President of Ireland Michael D Higgins on Thursday, March 22nd. The designation recognises the university's commitment to support students with autism to reach their full potential, both academically and socially while in college and to assist students' transition into employment after graduation. It also marks the end of an 18-month research project, led by Dr Mary Rose Sweeney, DCU School of Nursing and Human Sciences with the autism support and advocacy service AsIAm.


5) Employers across Ireland are encouraged to host an event on national Workplace Wellbeing Day on April 13th. The campaign, run by Food Drink Ireland (which is part of the Irish Business and Employers Confederation) aims to improve employee wellbeing by promoting physical activity and nutrition in the workplace.  Further details of how companies can get involved on

6) The Alzheimer Society of Ireland has bought a therapeutic robotic seal to work with people with dementia in the Orchard Day Care Centre in Blackrock, County Dublin. The baby seal, Paro, looks like a large cat and moves its head and legs. Its Japanese inventor Dr Takanori Shibata, who visited the daycare centre in Blackrock, said he was "overwhelmed to see a charming lady with dementia interacting with Paro. She hugged and kissed Paro with beautiful smile, and communicated with other people". Research has shown that interaction with therapeutic robots reduces stress, increases socialisation and improves relaxation and motivation for people with dementia. Interacting with real animals can also help lower blood pressure, reduce depression, reduce subjective pain, decrease the time it takes to recover from chronic ailments.

Sylvia Thompson

Sylvia Thompson

Sylvia Thompson, a contributor to The Irish Times, writes about health, heritage and the environment