02 Jul 2022

Coeliac Awareness Week will support the mind as well as the body

Lockdowns have had impact on physical and mental health of 50,000 coeliac sufferers in Ireland

Coeliac Society of Ireland

Alonsa Kelly is one of the team preparing care packs for the Coeliac Society of Ireland

Mental health and wellbeing will be on the menu, alongside all manner of gluten-free goodies, at this year’s Coeliac Awareness Week, which runs from May 10-14. 

Sponsored by Promise Gluten Free, this year’s event will focus on the impact that a year of coronavirus pandemic lockdowns has had on both the physical and mental wellbeing of 50,000 coeliac sufferers in Ireland.

Coeliac Awareness Week will be a five-day virtual event with a range of talks, health clinics, demonstrations and activities.

A mindfulness seminar and talks from a psychologist and a sleep expert will help attendees identify the mental health indicators that so many people miss or ignore, while also providing advice and insight into how to balance their mental wellbeing.

There will also be advice from nutritional experts, dietetic consultations, cooking demonstrations by leading chefs and fun activities for younger members of the family. 

Coeliac Society CEO Gill Brennan said “the last year has been a challenge for everyone and this year’s Coeliac Awareness Week, which is kindly supported by Promise Gluten Free, is designed to support Ireland’s coeliac and gluten-free community with a mix of fun and educational events for all the family. 

“However, based on feedback from our members, this year we also wanted to address some of the psychological effects of the coronavirus and lockdowns, as well as discuss potential coping strategies to deal with living with coeliac disease and severe gluten intolerance.

“There are an estimated 50,000 people with coeliac disease in Ireland – and almost 37,000 of them are undiagnosed.

"If these people are consuming any gluten it will significantly reduce their ability to absorb the nutrients they need for their body need to function healthily. And we know from numerous studies that a poor diet can have a devastating effect on one’s mental health."

The events planned for the week include educational talks with professional nutritionist Sarah Keogh, psychologist Mary Borton, sleep expert Tom Coleman, as well as fun activities for kids, a cooking demonstration with chef Tony Dempsey of the Bay Tree Restaurant, Teaching Wellness through Laughter with Louise Burchall and more.

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