Mercy Mounthawk, Tralee, Co. Kerry
Making Our World Healthier - Mental Health Challenge
The issue that this YSI project team wished to address was the difficulty that young people have in expressing their emotions and the negative consequences that this can have on them.
Their project aimed to promote positive mental health and hoped to create a positive mental health environment for young teens. The team was able to make partnerships with many beneficial organizations ranging from Tralee Mental Health Association, Smyths Toy Store to Hachette Ireland Publishers. These links were extremely helpful throughout the course of their project as well as with the continuation of their project.
The team carried out many activities in their local area to promote their project including them staying silent for 111 hours so that they could develop sympathy or empathy for those who suffer from mental health issues and are unable to speak out about them. They also held a “write “love” on your arm day” in the school (highlighting the issue of self harming) changing something negative into something positive. They created a facebook page with many happy comments and good thoughts for the day, and in their school they created a wall of happiness where students contributed bricks with descriptions of what made them happy written on them. They ran a week of emotion promotion events to reach the broader school community featuring musicians and artists etc.
The group realised through their research that many young people didn’t feel they had the tools or skills to deal with their emotional health. In response to this they made contact with the University of Limerick and IT Tralee and they talked to education psychologists and people who were able to help them design a course that would provide young people the tools necessary for them to develop positive mental health.
The team secured the permission of the school authorities to run the course in 2010/11, and were in the process of defining and refining it with experts in UL and Cork IT. Some of the teachers within the school had agreed to be trained as facilitators of the new course. They want to package this course and encourage other schools to adopt it in coming years.
They also created an emotional tool box for young people – all of the resources that one might require to stay positive. The team also raised much needed funding for Kerry Adolescent Counseling Centre and the Psychiatric Ward of Kerry General Hospital. They arranged a Toy Drive for the children’s ward in Kerry General Hospital. Each group member had very different reasons for choosing a project like Emotion Promotion, but when they took at closer look they realized all there reasons pointed in the same direction, they wanted to see a change in the world as well as within themselves.
Through completing their YSI project each team member felt they were able to gain courage and self confidencbe which provided them with the ability to go out into their community and promote others to gain confidence and learn to express positive/healthy emotions.
YSI Den Summary
What the team pitched for:
The team were pitching to the Den panel for finance to assist with the developement of their course that would provide young people the tools necessary for them to develop positive mental health.
YSI Den Grant
The team were awarded €700 to cover travel costs for meeting advisers for booklet and training of teachers.
YSI Award Winner
Young Social Innovators of the Year Silver Award Title Holders