Mental Health Awareness Week 14th-20th May
A message from Brendan, Prospect School Counsellor
This week 14th-20th May 2018 is Mental Health Awareness Week and on this important week we are taking the opportunity to have conversations with young people around Mental Health. Mental Health is health. As much as we have physical health we have mental health and it is important to look after both. Everyone has mental health. Not everyone has mental health difficulties. As much as we would look after our physical health, say if we had a headache or stomach pain, well it equally follows we must look after our mental health. And so my message is that it is ok to talk about our mental health. As a school counsellor therefore it does not mean that somebody who comes to see me has a problem let alone a mental health problem. My room is flooded every day with students who want to talk and share and who want to get advice and support. Not all have problems. In coming to see me I recognise this as a positive thing. Young people want to talk about things that bother them. In some way they are working to prevent mental health difficulties. One of the most significant contributors to sustained lifelong mental health problems is the failure to reach children and young people as early as they need the support. I cannot reach them all but it’s not for lack of effort. That’s why I am so passionate about my role in this school. I’m not here to replace the services provided by the health services out there but I am here to work with the students in this school and so thereby supporting health services. I can’t help everyone. Not all difficulties can be helped in counselling. It may help but sometimes more specialised medical intervention is required.
Students who work with me will know I use myself and my life journey in my sessions and in my day to day conversations with students. In doing so it normalises and also humanises experiences. So from my own experience of growing up in a difficult social and economic environment to anxiety, self-esteem issues and bullying. In sharing my experience students have a connect and feel understood and heard and that’s our start point to positive change.
Anxiety and self-esteem are the two predominant issues that infiltrate my work every day. I deal with these issues every single day. They can happen to all of us in many ways. Again neither need to define me as a person or decide I have a mental health problem. And so If I only achieve one thing at Prospect School then it will be to make mental health a less stigmatised and more normalised conversation among everyone. Mental Health Awareness week is a one week campaign. The conversations must continue beyond the week and must never end.
More information, facts and stories can be found on the link below.