North Cork students chat galore at Teen Talk
Over 600 students heard inspirational stories from figures such as Maria Walsh, Bressie and Cork Olympian Rob Heffernan
Almost 600 Transition Year students from 30 schools from throughout Cork county attended the first ever 'Teen Talk' health and well-being seminar on May 1.
This was organised by Cork County Council and funded under Healthy Ireland, and was held at the Radisson Blu at Little Island Cork.
MC for the event was former Rose of Tralee Maria Walsh, who introduced the exciting line-up of speakers, which included Blizzards front man and well-known mental health advocate Niall 'Bressie' Beslin. He shared his personal story of dealing with panic attacks and depression, and learning to deal with these problems.
Dr Pixie McKenna of 'Embarrassing Bodies' gave students a straight-talking presentation on what they should concern themselves with in terms of general health; and Olympic race walker and star of RTE's 'Dancing with the Stars' Rob Heffernan spoke about the benefits of a living a healthy lifestyle.
Maria shared her own personal experiences of growing up and coming out as gay. Supporting the event through Cork County Council's three LCDCs was Healthy Ireland, a Government-led initiative funded under the Dept of Health and overseen by POBAL which is responsible for managing the programme on behalf of the Government.
The aim is to create an Irish society where everyone can enjoy physical and mental health, and where well-being is valued and supported at every level of society.
Mayor of Cork County Declan Hurley opened the event by saying "CCC has a big role to play in protecting the health and wellbeing of Cork, in particular through our LCDCs. We are pleased to work with Healthy Ireland to teach people how to look after themselves better by listening and respecting their own minds and bodies. I would encourage you to start everyday with one positive thought - remember, every day is a new beginning, so take a deep breath and embrace the opportunity to start fresh, and enjoy life!"
Minister for Mental Health and Older People Jim Daly also addressed students and teachers at the event, saying "It is an honour to be the Minister for one of the most important aspects of today's society - mental health.
"I would like to congratulate the organisers of this event for bringing it to Cork and engaging with so many young people today.
"I urge each and every one of you to look after yourselves, but also each other. Small steps now could make a big difference to someone, so make the effort to listen to each other, watch out for each other, and make time for each other."
All students who attended the half-day 'Teen Talk' event had the opportunity to learn more about the supports available to them at a number of information stands.
Also, everyone was given a Green Ribbon to wear in support of 'See Change', a month-long campaign being run by the national Mental Health Stigma Reduction Partnership, to encourage people in Ireland to end mental health stigma this May.