Derry students focus on Mental Health

The event, entitled Stamp out Stigma, was designed to raise awareness among students of mental health issues that could impact on their wellbeing.

The day started with students from the college performing ‘Baggage’, a strikingly realistic and relevant original one act play that had been adapted by the students as part of the project. The play explored references to key themes that impact on the lives of young people everywhere and affect their emotional wellbeing such as use of social media, self-harm, body image, financial pressures and family issues.

The performance was followed up with a series of interactive workshops that focused on helping the audience explore the five key themes that had been raised in the performance.

The audience heard that the pressures of modern life can be detrimental to the mental health of children and young people, with the impacts of family breakdown, the rise of social networking, violence, peer pressure and substance abuse often leading to mental disorders, anxiety, depression and conduct disorders.

Speaking at the event, Fergal Mellon, Project Worker, Beacon Wellbeing explained why the charity had wanted to bring this innovative project to the students at NWRC, he said: “Our aim in developing this project was to create a space for young people to become aware of and explore how some of the pressures they face can impact on their emotional and mental wellbeing. We also wanted to challenge the audience to reflect on the need to stamp out the stigma associated with mental ill health so as to send out a message to young people that it is ok to ask for help.”

Ann McGarrigle, Health, Welfare and Safeguarding Officer at North West Regional College said:

“Within the College we work with students to highlight that mental health issues can affect people of all ages, at different stages in their lives, and that help is on hand should they need it while they are with us. We have been delighted to work with Beacon Wellbeing on this project, and believe the workshops, and the performance by our students will help their peers to reach out if they experience mental health or emotional challenges.”

If you would like to know more about the support services NWRC provides for students experiencing emotional or mental health difficulties please contact the Student Services Team on 028 7127 6045.

For more information on Beacon Wellbeing, visit, www.beaconwellbeing.org