More than 150 young people from schools across the North West have taken part in an event to help them cope with challenges in their lives, organised by ,Youth Fest.,
Youth Fest is an initiative from the Long Tower Parish run four times a year. Each event has guest speakers and addresses topics that are relevant and important to young people of the diocese. The most recent event took place last Friday in Long Tower Church.
Speakers were Nuala McKeever of ‘Give My Head Peace’ and the ‘Hole in the Wall Gang’; Felix Healy, former Northern Ireland and Derry City footballer and Professor Siobhan O’Neill, Professor of Mental Health Sciences at the Ulster University.
The speakers courageously shared stories of their own struggles with mental health issues and offered practical advise and help. They offered encouragement to anyone who is going through or who may go through what they have suffered to always get help. The Long Tower Parish provided the young people with the practical support they felt might be of benefit and help to the young people, so that when and if they were faced with these challenges they can reach out for help.
The speakers encouraged our young people to ‘find space, to be aware of what is going on in themselves, to trust and to love yourself and to realise that we have the positive options to make in our life.’
The afternoon was facilitated by Paul McFadden and the music provided by the Long Tower Folk Group.
Fr. Brendan Collins, the event organiser and priest of the parish commented: “This event is an opportunity for our young people to listen to some personal stories from those who have had these struggles, together with expert advise offered in a positive and helpful manner.
“I believe this is where we as people of faith have to be; listening to the needs of our community and offering support.’
Students from St Cecilia’s College, Lumen Christi College, St Mary’s College, St Joseph’s Boys’ School, Thornhill College and St Mary’s, Limavady attended the event.