Young think big on mental health issues

Leanne Tracey and Andrew Grehan pictured at 02 Think Big workshops in O2 headquarters in Dublin. Think Big is a programme designed by O2 and Headstrong, the National Centre for Youth Mental Health, designed to inspire young people around the country to promote positive mental health in their local community.
FIVE young people from north Kildare were among a group of youths from across the country that attended a Think Big mental health workshop in O2 headquarters in Dublin.

FIVE young people from north Kildare were among a group of youths from across the country that attended a Think Big mental health workshop in O2 headquarters in Dublin.

Leanne Tracey and Andrew Grehan from Leixlip and Shauna O’Boyle, Grainne Conlon and Sophie Glennon from Celbridge attended the Think Big programme designed by O2 and Headstrong, the National Centre for Youth Mental Health.

The programme is designed to inspire young people around the country to promote positive mental health in their local community. Those attending the recent workshop were each awarded a place on the national Think Big programme after successfully submitting an idea for a project in their community.

Think Big has granted initial funding of €300 to help get each project off the ground, along with a mobile phone (with €50 top-up), and a Think Big start-up pack.

Leanne and Andrew from Leixlip developed ‘ITB Physical & Mental Health Awareness Day 2013,’ an event held in the Institute of Technology Blanchardstown which will draw attention to physical and mental health. The objective is to raise awareness of mental health among the students and staff of the college.

Shauna, Grainne and Sophie worked on ‘Youthlife,’ - a project which aims to encourage young people to express their feelings in a safe environment. Through group and individual sessions, they wanted to ensure young people from Celbridge will be listened to and will have an opportunity to talk about the things that are worrying them.

Jill Johnston, Corporate Responsibility Manager at O2, said: “We would like to congratulate all of our young people who participated in the Think Big training programme at the weekend and we’re looking forward to seeing them bring their projects to life.”

Aisling Flynn, Think Big Co-ordinator, Headstrong said the young people taking part are leading the way in changing how we think about mental health in Ireland.

“Young people intuitively understand the importance of mental health and are ideally placed to promote positive mental health among their peers,” she said.

The Think Big Programme and is open to any young person in the Republic of Ireland, aged between 14 and 25, with an idea for a project that will make a difference to young people’s mental health. Project ideas can be submitted through the www.o2ThinkBig.ie website.

- Henry Bauress