Speak out, be heard!
Last Saturday, Fenella met a group of young people in Kilkenny to hear what they had to say about mental health and talk about what pressures they face.
I don’t really count myself as an adult although technically I am, being just out of the young person (12-25 year-old) category. In any case, it can be easy for people my age and older to think we know what’s best for young people.
What people want
So, it’s always good to get out and talk to young people to find out what they think and want, and to do it in a meaningful way.
This is what we did last Saturday in Kilkenny. Lifeline Kilkenny invited us (ReachOut.com) to facilitate a consultation with young people called “Speak Out, Be Heard. Have your say about youth mental health!”
Energetic and enthusiastic
It’s not an easy thing to do to give up a Saturday morning to come and discuss mental health with a group of people you probably don’t know. So, it was really encouraging to see so many young people there, all full of energy and enthusiasm.
Discussing mental health
After a couple of ‘ice-breakers’, the main work got underway and myself and Derek did a workshop about mental health in general and ReachOut.com. We had a few discussions with the full group and then in smaller groups about mental health and what it’s like to be young in Ireland today.
We haven’t yet gone through all of our notes from the day but some of the issues that came up were things like:
- getting through everyday issues like stress, bullying and exams
- formal and informal supports that are out there and what should be available for young people
- how we talk about mental health
- huge advances in technology
- school and the academic stress put on young people today.
Informing a plan
All of the discussions, stories and experiences shared will feed into a Kilkenny county Youth Mental Health Plan in an effort to make Kilkenny a great place to be young.
Thanks to Lifeline Kilkenny for inviting us and to Community Consultants, KASES, Comhairle na nOg and most especially to all the inspirational young people who were there.