A group of young people are to launch a new website to promote mental, physical and sexual health.
The teenagers are members of the ‘Moving On Up’ programme, funded by BBC ‘Children in Need’ and run by the Bogside and Brandywell Health Trust.
The programme has provided opportunities for a number of local teenagers to become health champions and gain qualifications in child protection, health and well-being, first aid and youth leadership.
Laura McGuinness, who manages the programme, said the website will raise young people’s awareness of nurtrition and mental, physical and sexual health.
“The young people came up with ‘Cloudmind’ and they created their own hashtag #beoktogether. They have gone into schools and addressed assemblies to encourage other young people to speak up if they are struggling.
“They are now in the process of creating a website and an interactive avatar called ‘Stratus.’ This will be launched by the group in the near future and will offer support to other young people.”
Laura added that the programme has provided many exciting opportunities for the young people.
“Kayla Canning recently took part in the BBC One ‘Rickshaw Challenge’ for Children in Need, Oisin Dobbins sits on the BBC Youth Advisory Panel and others sit on the Youth 19 Forum.
“It’s a great group and the members are really committed to the programme. It has been a huge success so far.”
Kayla Canning said that her life would be ‘very different’ if she had not taken part in the ‘Moving On UP’ programme.
“I was a wee brat when I started and my life could have gone one way or another if I hadn’t become part of this group.
“Then I started doing something that made me feel good about myself and look what we are doing now - spreading the message on mental health.”
For Sinead McGowan, the programme has helped her learn new skills and make new friends.
“It also allowed me to learn more about mental health issues and how they affect people.”
Oisin Dobbins said he is very proud of the website the group has created and he can see himself using the skills he has learned in the future.
“Thanks to the programme, I’m getting to help people and that’s what I want to do with my life.” he said.
For more information about the ‘Moving On Up’ programme or the launch of the new website, visit: https://twitter.com/cloudmind2