Schools invited to major mental health awareness event

Mayor of Derry City & Strabane District Maol�osa McHugh
Mayor of Derry City & Strabane District Maol�osa McHugh

Local students are being invited to a special event aimed at raising awareness around mental health and well being.

Mayor Maolíosa McHugh issued the invitation to all post-primary schools ahead of the event at the Foyle Arena on Friday.

The event is one of several Mayoral Initiatives focusing on young people and mental health initiated by Colr. McHugh during his term.

The event on Dealing with Stress and Building Resilience, will focus on a range of topics affecting young people, from learning to deal with stress, to how to thrive in an online environment.

It is being organised by the Civic Forum for Derry City and Strabane District, which works to address issues relating to Alcohol, Drugs, Mental Health, Emotional Wellbeing, Suicide Prevention and Homelessness.

Speaking ahead of the event, Mayor McHugh, who chairs the Forum, said it was vitally important to equip young people with the right information and skills to deal with issues around mental health.

“Mental health and wellbeing are high on the Council’s agenda and a key aspect of the Strategic Growth Plan for the area, in terms of developing programmes which will effectively tackle issues and change attitudes in the long term.

“I am delighted to be hosting this event as it provides an opportunity for young people to find out more about the support network that is there and how they can go about addressing some of the health and social concerns which affect their age group.

“We are all too aware that many young people in our society struggle with the challenges of school, peer pressure, and now the very real dangers presented by inappropriate online activity. Workshops such as these offer the chance to come together to share their concerns and receive guidance on how to approach issues and access the right information and support.”

The Civic Forum brings together a range of bodies including Council, Western Health & Social Care Trust, Public Health Agency, PSNI, Housing Executive, Education Authority, Derry and Strabane Healthy Cities, Council for the Homeless NI and the Policing and Community Safety Partnership with the shared objective of improving the health and wellbeing of local people.

As some of the most vulnerable members of society are impacted by more than one serious health issue, the Civic Forum provides a platform to explore the interface between some of these issues, so they can be addressed in a comprehensive manner rather than treated in isolation.

The youth event will take place in the Foyle Arena on April 20 between 10am and 2pm and Year 11 and/or 12 pupils from Post-Primary schools across the city and district are invited to attend.

Events on the day centre round enhancing young people’s ability to manage stress and build resilience with interactive workshops relating to the Five Steps to Wellbeing. The following link provides further information on the Five Steps www.publichealth.hscni.net/publications/take-5-steps-wellbeing-english-and-11-translations
Workshops will explore the Schools for Hope Project, Digital Resilience, Mood Matters and there will also be the opportunity to take part in some fun physical activity.

A wide range of information stands will also be available on the day to offer advice and information on the wide range of services available locally. Thorough the work of the Peace IV programme the event is also being supported by a group of young people from the X-Pression Project who are assisting with the delivery of workshops to the schools.

For more information about the work of the Derry City and Strabane District Civic Forum you can email civicforum@derrystrabane.com or telephone the Council’s Health & Housing Team on (028) 71253253.