Sparked by recent suicides throughout Northern Ireland, a Newtownabbey Youth Group have, for the past few months, been involved in a Mental Health Project.
The 13 young people from Monkstown have looked at ways to maintain positive Mental Health as well as looking at different varieties of Mental Illnesses and have just concluded their project by creating their own Mental Health Mural with the help of popular street artist - Visual Waste NI.
The Mural was officially unveiled on March 28 under the bridge next to Abbeytown Square in Monkstown, Newtownabbey, at an event attended by their friends and family, counsellors, local representatives and the Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey Council.
In the months running up to the unveiling, the boys and girls were involved in discussing Mental Health and Mental illnesses and looking at ways to maintain a positive Mental Health, a topic they were keen to cover because of the rise in Suicide and Self-Harm amongst Young People in the province.
They felt it was really important for young people to be able to discuss their Mental Health and any problems they may be facing.
They have extended thanks to the funders of the project - The Public Health Agency and South Antrim Community Network - without whose help it would not have been possible.
They also thanked outside agencies who came in to work with them including: Urban Community Chef who taught them how eating healthy can play an important part in maintaining positive Mental Health; Learning Works who provided instruction on how to calm their minds and relax through Yoga; and Lighthouse Charity, whose representatives discussed with the young people how to find support themselves and how to provide a source of support for others.
Thanks were alsot extend to the NOMAD Team and Monkstown Boxing Club who demonstrated how exercise and sport can be used to help tackle stress, anxieties and depression, and, to project workers Amy, Claire and Gemma from Monkstown Boxing Club, who worked with the young people each week discussing Mental Health issues.
The project was completed with the help of local street artist, Visual Waste, whose vision and creativity helped make the Young People’s ideas come to life in their mural through which they aimed to project the messages -
It is ok to always be ourselves.
It’s ok not to be ok.
It’s ok to talk.
It’s not ok to mock difference.
Work on your mental health to keep it positive.