Wexford teens express their opinions on mental health

By Amy Lewis

Published 22/10/2016 | 00:00

Aislinn Hickey and Niamh Rush from Presentation Secondary School.
Aislinn Hickey and Niamh Rush from Presentation Secondary School.
Runners up Serena White and Mairead O' Brien from Ramsgrange Community School with Fr Colm Murphy (Chairman Wexford Mental Health Association), Amy White (Wexford Credit Union) and Jill O' Herlihy (Mental Health Ireland).
Amy Clancy Leonard, Cria Barry, Eman Osman and Olivia Malone from Presentation Secondary School Wexford who took part in the Expressions project.
The winning team of Anthony Finn, Lisa Hammerl, Megan Butler, and Laura Dunne together with their classmates from Colaiste Abbain, along with Fr Colm Murphy (Wexford Mental Health Association), Terry Walsh (Allied Training), Ciaradh Walsh (Wexford Mental Health Association), Amy White (Wexford Credit Union) and Jill O' Herlihy (Mental Health Ireland).

Students expressed their views on mental health through art, drama and song last week as part of the Expressions competition organised by Wexford Mental Health Association.

Students from Ramsgrange, Colaiste Abbain Adamstown and Presentation Wexford shared their ideas on the topic of 'Positive Mental Health' through a host of creative projects which displayed their understanding of the complex issue. All of the students were judged on their content, presentation and understanding of mental health before Anthony Finn, Lisa Hammerl, Megan Butler and Laure Dunne from Colaiste Abbain were announced as the winners.

The idea for the competition is the brainchild of the Wexford Mental Health Association. It aims to get young people thinking about their own mental health and how to look after it.

'We are constantly looking at the promotion of mental health, not only in terms of dealing with mental illness but also the idea of encouraging good mental health among people in the community,' explained Director of Wexford Mental Health Association and PRO Alice Doyle. 'Last year, we started working with the youth. We always had a debate in schools but the competition was new for us.'

'We hear so many different stories now about young people struggling with mental health issues, from depression and stress to suicide,' said Alice. 'We are trying to get young people aware of the fact that they do have feelings and emotions and help them to learn how to deal with them. We aim to instil in them ways to prevent mental health problems including being active, being part of something and talking to others if they have a problem.'

The winners received €200 while the runners up received €100 per team.

The association are hoping that they will have a greater uptake next year.

'These youngsters are heightening awareness on how to look after your mental health. If they can help to spread their message, that is great,' said Alice.

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