Johnny Sexton says Think Big!
Yesterday evening Johnny Sexton was at an event where he offered his insight into staying positive to 21 Think big participants from across Ireland. Here, our Think Big Co-ordinator Nuala Smith tells us a little bit about the evening and the young people who attended.
Drawing on his own experiences Johnny shared his tips for dealing with pressure and expectations which he has had to learn in his own career with Leinster and Ireland. Listening intently, the young people in the room were reassured to hear that the young rugby legend has shared similar feelings of being overwhelmed and disappointed but more importantly they learned how at 26, Johnny has developed skills to help him manage these emotions.
On finishing Johnny then had a chance to meet with each of the six projects and hear about their work to promote positive mental health for young people in their communities. The six projects who met and spent the evening with Johnny Sexton showed the imaginative and practical ways that young people are responding to the needs of their friends and classmates.
Those that attended were:
Fresh 2012: Through his project, Sean Brophy from Sallins, Co Kildare is teaching young people about music production and mental health and demonstrating how music can improve mental health. Sean’s group held a workshop at the end of March where they taught local young people how to record, produce and mix songs and communicated the positive impact music can have on mental health. Sean also plans to host an event that promotes new music and bands in Dublin.
Fighting Depression in Sport: Niamh O’Sullivan from Dublin wants to raise awareness of mental health issues in sport. Her project is about helping to remove the stigma surrounding depression in elite athletes and highlighting that a “strong body” does not always mean a strong mind. She plans to develop wristbands with the inscription “Inspiration, Perspiration, Communication” on the outside and “Fighting Depression in Sport” on the inside. These wristbands will be distributed to all relevant sportspeople, including runners, golfers and boxers.
The Big Laugh: Kyle Walsh from Sligo made a comedy DVD with members of his Foroige youth club. The DVD includes comedy sketches and footage of young people talking about what makes them laugh. The project is based on the idea that everybody needs to laugh and smile in order to feel good and it’s important to focus on the good, while acknowledging the bad times when they do arrive.
Self Esteem Booster Team: Lauren Moran from Offaly has set up a project with the aim of helping people who feel they don’t fit in to their town or school. She wants to create a selection of all inclusive games for anyone to join including egg and spoon races, three legged races and quizzes.
Crossing Minds: Greg McGuinness from Maynooth University has set up a project with the aim of developing student teachers’ capabilities in their role in supporting students about mental health issues. He wants to make student teachers more aware of their role within schools and how they can positively affect student’s mental wellbeing. Greg partnered with a number of organisations to develop a day long workshop to educate student teachers, which took place on Saturday 31st March and was a great success with 57 people attending.
Going Mental: Jordan Byrne and his friends from Marian College, Ballsbridge, are creating a number of Youtube videos to promote positive mental health in their school and community. They want to highlight the issues that young people face today and how they can affect your mental health. The group have already produced an anti-bullying short film for Youtube.
Johnny was very impressed by the passion and enthusiasm shown by all the young people who are part of Think Big. Mental health is the number one issue for young people in Ireland and Think Big is helping to tackle it head on by giving young people the skills, resources and back up that they need to create positive mental health for them and their peers. Think Big is open to all young people between the ages of 14-25 and they can be part of the change by logging onto www.o2thinkbig.ie or getting in touch with me on Nuala@headstrong.ie