For World Mental Health Day 2015, the Jigsaw Youth Advisory Panel asked people why they think it's hard to talk about mental health and to share what they do to look after their own mental health...
In 2015 our Youth Advisory Panel wanted to be part of a discussion about mental health at The MacGill Summer School. They went along to represent Jigsaw, and make sure the voices of young people were heard. Annie talks about her experience...
The MacGill Summer School began over 30 years ago. It brings people together to debate and discuss the issues of the day, including economics, health, public services, and more. So, we found ourselves travelling to the scenic village of Glenties, in County Donegal to take part in a workshop looking at mental health.
The workshop we were attending was titled ‘Our mental health – A cause for hope or despair’. The fact that mental health was part of the agenda was very promising. It shows how far we’ve come, that it’s now openly recognised as something we need to seriously talk about to address what people’s needs are.
Dr. Marie Murray highlighted how mental health problems are not isolated issues and do not occur in a vacuum, but are interrelated issues in our society.
She outlined that it is based on a common thread and how close knit communities are the ﬁnest therapeutic clinics in this country.
She drew attention to the title of the session, reiterating how mental health is a collective issue in society and how we all have an important role and responsibility in this.
Drawing on our My World Survey research, she shed light on some of the prevalent issues that are facing young people in their lives and how this can spark many mental health difficulties at an early age.
She also praised Jigsaw for putting young people at the forefront and providing resources at an earlier stage. Borrowing from the theme of the week, she concluded on the note that mental health in Ireland is at a crossroads, and how important it is for us all to come together to ensure that the right road is taken.
The Minister of State, Kathleen Lynch, spoke about the idea of the ambiguity surrounding the language of mental health and in the commu-nication of messages. We are in the process of breaking down this stigma bit by bit, and how we need to focus on the strengths of the human condition – that we are survivors of survivors.
She recognised the services that are taking active steps in providing support at an earlier stage, such as Jigsaw, and how these preventative services will have a large impact in the future.
Dr Shari McDaid led the discussion and opened the ﬂoor to questions.
It was encouraging to see that ﬁrst of all a session was dedicated to talk openly about mental health, but also the numbers that were in attendance against the backdrop of a rural Ireland setting.
It provided a powerful portrayal of the spectrum of mental health and I think that in these forums in the future, more young people need to be in attendance and develop a better understanding of the mental health landscape in Ireland.