It’s Okay Not To Be Okay | Week 6

5th October- 11th October 2015

When I was about to start this blog post I was like derp, nothing really happened this week. Well I was wrong. Once I got my memory to function properly I remembered that this week has been mental (no pun intended).

On Tuesday the 6th of October, Meath Comhairle na nÓg held their AGM and “Let’s Go Mental” event. For those of you who don’t know, a ‘Comhairle na nÓg’ is the youth council of the local county council. There are 31 comhairles throughout the country and they allow young people to be involved in the development of local services and policies and to have their voices heard.

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One of the national initiatives “Let’s Go Mental” is a nationwide campaign to promote positive mental health among young people. The idea is that each of the 31 Comhairle na nÓgs will organise and run their own individual Let’s Go Mental event for young people in their area. Each event will be centred around Headstong‘s five-a-day for your mental health concept. These concepts are: connect, be aware, get moving, give and get involved.

As a member of Meath Comhairle na nÓg, our past couple of months have mainly been focused on our Let’s Go Mental event. Coincidentally, at our 2014 AGM mental health came out as our chosen topic as our fellow peers believed that that was the biggest issue in Meath. Our topic and the national executive’s event coincided nicely which allowed us to focus on one thing, and one thing only: how to promote positive mental health in Meath.

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Comhairle na nÓg’s explanation of Headstrong’s five-a-day.

I was part of the connect workshop with four of my fellow Comhairle members. Our workshop was based around connecting with one another through various games and activities. There was a personality quiz, human knot game, shark game and picture game. The personality quiz is quite self explanatory whilst the others aren’t. The human knot game consisted of a group of people holding hands and quite literally forming a knot using their bodies. Another person would have to try and untangle the knot. The shark game was basically musical chairs minus the chairs. Instead of chairs we had newspapers on the floor and each time the music stopped you’d have to be standing on one of the newspapers. The picture game consisted of two groups being shown different pictures (eg. car, house etc.) and they’d have to make that image using their bodies.

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Approx. 200 young people attended the event. They rotated between the five different workshops and I’d like to think that they enjoyed each one. Thank you to everyone who helped us to make the day successful and thank you to all the young people who attended. Congratulations to our ten newly elected members, looking forward to working with you during the upcoming year. Some photos of the event can be found here.

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World Mental Health Day took place on Saturday the 10th of October. I’ve read so many different heart touching stories the past week and I’ve come to the conclusion that positive mental health still isn’t perceived the way it should be. Even though many schools have a ‘positive mental health week’  among other events (such as the Let’s Go Mental events), I still feel that there could be a lot more positivity in relation to mental health. Don’t get me wrong, there is so much being done to help promote this and a lot has be done to make young and old aware of mental health but I still think that more can be done.

The little things in life can make such a difference to people. Even just talking to someone can mean so much to certain people, yet you don’t see it as anything amazing. I’ve come to realise this over the past year and it’s truly eye opening. I personally have never been directly affected by any mental health issues but I know of people who have. There’s no need to go all over board and be like ‘asdfghjkl’, all you need to do is just make sure they’re okay. Just be there for them and listen to what they have to say.

There are so many different sites you can visit to inform yourself about mental health and how it can affect people:

http://www.yourmentalhealth.ie

http://www.mentalhealthireland.ie

http://ie.reachout.com

https://www.headstrong.ie

https://www.mentalhealthreform.ie

Overall this week has been a very good one. All the work we put into our AGM paid off. It’s kinda mad to think that I’ve been a member of Meath Comhairle na nÓg a whole year now, time flies by (but we already established this in a previous post). The countdown timer continues to tick down and it’s actually starting to scare me a little now. It was on 40 weeks when we started and it’s already on 34. Wow, just wow.

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Last week’s post was very short compared to other weeks and I honestly can’t even remember the reasoning behind that. This is a perfect example of how Orla’s memory has the ability to forgot normal day-to-day things. If you’re still reading this, I hope that you’ll go and educate yourself a bit more on mental health and how it affects people. There are also numerous organisations and people whom you can talk to if you feel like you need someone to talk to. There’s always help and support. You’re not alone.

Only two more weeks ’till mid term. I can’t waaaaait. I need a break from all this school work. So. Much. Work. Enjoy the upcoming week. Do what you’ve gotta do and look after yourself and those around you.

Over and out.

Don’t Be A Sheep, Be Unique.

~ Orla

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