Donegal Youth Council is planning a series of roadshows in coming weeks that they hope will spark discussions of mental health issues.
Aston Villa and Ireland goalkeeper Shay Given and Donegal Mayor, Cllr. Ian McGarvey, launched the youth council’s Sparks Youth Mental Health Roadshow in Letterkenny on Saturday.
The series kicks off Oct. 10th, World Mental Health Day, with a roadshow at the Mount Errigal Hotel, Letterkenny. Roadshows will also be held in Stranorlar (Finn Valley Centre) on Oct. 24th; Gaoth Dobhair (Ionad Naomh Pádraig) on Nov. 7th; Buncrana (Plaza) on Nov. 21st; and Donegal town (Abbey Hotel) on Nov. 28th.
Deputy Youth Mayor, Youth Cllr. Molly MacGinty of Letterkenny, said youth councillors hope the events spark conversations about mental health and help to remove the stigma that can sometimes accompany those conversations. Every school in the county has been invited to send a group to the roadshow in their area and the council hope to work with about 1,000 young people in all.
“Places filled up very quickly,” Cllr. MacGinty said. “I think everyone realised there was a need for this in the county.” She said councillors hope the 1,000 young people attending the events will create a ripple effect as they share what they learn with others.
Each roadshow will feature motivational speakers, question-and-answer sessions and workshops on the Mental Health 5 a Day, the five key areas that can have a significant effect on health and well-being. Youth councillors sought input from many mental health and youth organisations in planning the roadshows, and have also invited youth services from across the county to set up information stalls at the events.
Cllr. MacGinty said mental health issues should not be considered a taboo subject between parents and children. “If people can use talking about this as a platform for talking about mental health or reducing the stigma, I think that would be great,” she said.