Helping you get through tough times

Working with ReachOut.com

Happy International Women’s Day ladies! For the day that’s in it we thought we’d feature Suzanne’s story. Suzanne was working with Inspire and all its programmes, like ReachOut.com, as an intern for community engagement.

Suzanne is the one on the right I’m Suzanne Byrne. I’m 25 and I’m from Dublin.
I first heard of ReachOut.com through a flatmate of mine who is friends with Vince [who was until recently ReachOut.com’s community engagement manager] and then I heard of their internship position through the website ActiveLink.ie. I thought it sounded like an interesting role, one which would explore the area of youth mental health and also help me to develop my skills in working with young people; it was those two things that appealed to me.

Challenging my views of mental health

Before I started, in my head the dialogue around mental health was all about the removing of stigma instead of placing the emphasis on positive mental health which is what ReachOut.com does so well. Stigma reduction kind of happens naturally once the positive mental health side of things is emphasised and promoted – that’s what I’ve taken away from it anyway. It’s most important to encourage people to talk about their problems and to promote the idea that it’s ok to not be ok sometimes.

Supporting young people

I feel more confident in myself in talking to young people about youth mental health and I think I’m in a better position now to support young people with mental health problems as well. The ASIST and Safe Talk training I got were particularly helpful.

I feel more confident broaching certain issues with young people but its most visible in the day-to-day conversations that you have with young people at events and youth advisory network meet-ups, where you can acknowledge that someone is going through a tough time and be able to handle their response well. That’s something that you only gain through time and something that you only improve with time so the six months working directly with young people has really helped me to do that.

To read the full transcript of Suzanne’s interview visit the Inspire Ireland site. Suzanne is pictured here at Oxegen ’11 and she is not the one in the Tiger outfit.

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