David Barry
Mon, 13 Jun 2016
Healthy Head Project
Cafe members get their table ready!

Healthy Head Project

On Friday night the 3rd of June, the Knockmitten Youth Café members in Clondalkin made the short trip down the road to the Liffey Valley shopping centre. They reason for their visit was to carry out their ‘Healthy Head’ mental health project. In late 2015 the café members came up with the idea to plan a community mental health project. The plan was to engage with members of the local community around mental health, particularly their teenage peers. After much chat and discussion the gang decided that this project needed to be fun and so the planning started.  In early 2016, the group gave their project a name, the ‘Healthy Head’ campaign-with accompanying heathy brain lifting weights logo!!  The overarching idea behind the project was to connect with the local teenage community, spread some valuable mental health information on resources and to create a bit of fun on the night in the hope that passers-by would engage and have a chat. The main ideas the group went with were:

·         The creation of Healthy Head wristbands: Each wristband had the logo and a positive mental health saying/slogan that the group came up with. There were 4 different colour wristbands and four different slogans (200 wristbands in total)

·         Wall of compliments: laminated ‘compliments’ that people were asked to take and pass on to somebody in their lives that weekend-passing on kindness/positivity sort of thing!

·         Information flier: the group created a youth resource information flier that detailed mental health resources for young people in Dublin

·         Chocolate: Everybody loves a bit of chocolate! The group wanted to have a bit of fun so we bought 100’s of chocolate gold coins to give out-bribery of sorts!

·         T-shirts: the group wanted to look the part of the night so we ordered Healthy Head t-shirts for the evening, with our weight lifting brain front and centre!

The night itself was a complete success with everybody in the shopping centre engaging with our group. Each young person had their own role to play, with some engaging directly with shoppers and others giving out chocolate coins and fliers. With just over an hour into the evening, all of our coins, fliers, compliments and wristbands had literally disappeared. It was interesting that people thought we were fundraising and were reluctant at first to engage with us. Once we reassured people that we were not and in fact the opposite, the crowds soon gathered and the fun started!

The evening was a really positive experience as the focus was taken away from disability and turned to the area of mental health, an issue all young people deal with. We are fairly sure we made a good impression on the people of South Dublin that night and hopefully enabled positive discussions around mental health to take place that weekend.

If you are experiencing issues with your mental health and would like to talk to somebody you can contact the following:

·         The Samaritans: Call 116 123

·         TeenLine: Call 1800 833 634


·         Aware: Call 1890 303 302