Offaly young people thinking big about mental health

Young people from Offaly were amongst a group of young people from across the country that attended a recent Think Big workshop in O2’s headquarters in Dublin.

Young people from Offaly were amongst a group of young people from across the country that attended a recent Think Big workshop in O2’s headquarters in Dublin.

Think Big is a programme designed by O2 and Headstrong, the National Centre for Youth Mental Health, which enables young people to do projects in their community that will make a difference to young people’s mental health.

The young people attending the workshop were each awarded a place on the national Think Big programme, after successfully submitting an idea for a project in their community. The training workshop is designed to help them get their projects up and running and covers a range of skills including: Introduction to Mental Health, Project Planning, Communicating with Confidence and Social Media Skills.

Think Big has granted initial funding of €300 to help get each project off the ground, along with a mobile phone (with €50 top-up), and a Think Big start-up pack. In addition, every young person will get support from O2 and Headstrong in the form of mentoring and on-going training to help them to bring their proposal to life. The projects will also be eligible for further funding as they progress.

Lyndsay Baker from Birr submitted a project with the Chinese- Irish Society of UCD. Her project aims to improve the mental health of Chinese students in UCD by finding ways of integrating them into life in Ireland.

Speaking about the Think Big training workshop, Jill Johnston Corporate Communications Manager at O2 said: “We are delighted with the variety and high calibre of projects that young people across the country have submitted. The novel ways in which they are promoting mental health amongst their peers is making this a highly engaging and worthy campaign. We are urging young people around the country to log on to www.o2thinkbig.ie and get involved.”

Nuala Smith, Think Big Co-ordinator, Headstrong said: “The young people taking part in Think Big are leading the way in changing how we think about mental health in Ireland. Young people intuitively understand the importance of mental health and are ideally placed to promote positive mental health among their peers. Each project attending the training today has great potential to make a positive difference in their community and in joining over 200 other Think Big projects they are helping to transform our understanding of mental health.”

The Think Big Programme is open to any young person, aged between 14 and 25, in the Republic of Ireland with an idea for a project that makes a difference to young people’s mental health. Project ideas can be submitted through the www.o2ThinkBig.ie website. Young people can also join the online Think Big Community to discuss and share ideas about how to promote mental health among young people.