Jenny Kerr
Fri, 11 Apr 2014

I Have a Dream!

Martin Luther King made a speech about his; Abba, Fleetwood Mac and Gabrielle had songs about theirs.  Dreams! We all have them, in our sleep and in real life. Unfortunately, for some of us, it’s the “real life” dreams that can be the hardest to accomplish. This is true for most young people living in Ireland today, including young people with a disability, particularly in these financially difficult times.  In my view, this has contributed to the increasing amount of mental health issues people/young people of this country are now facing today.

People often say, “If you want something bad enough, you have to fight for it”.   I sometimes find myself questioning this. For example, how can a young person gain the confidence to go out into the world and live up to their dreams, if their dreams are getting further and further out of reach, due to lack of funding or job opportunities or even lack of access and transport.  Is it any wonder young people today are suffering with mental health issues if they are constantly being made to feel like they don’t belong. How do I know this, I hear you ask?  Through experience!

Recently, the youth based website “Spunout” ran a campaign called “Ditch the Monkey.”  The campaign is centred around raising awareness of mental health issues and giving advice on how to cope if you are suffering. I really felt a connection with this campaign after watching the videos as it reminded me how the voices in our heads can often become very real, especially if we are being bullied or being made to feel in any way different to those around us.

So how can we help young people to gain more confidence in themselves and their own ability?  It may sound like a cliché but there is help out there.  There are many groups out there such as “Childline,” “Jigsaw,” ISPCC” etc, who have been set up to help and support young people to deal with their mental health issues, however small they may seem to those who are suffering. It may be hard to admit you need help emotionally, especially if you feel you have no one to turn to but, believe me when I say this, there is always someone out there who is willing to listen and help.  They may be hard to find at first but if you keep trying and never give up you will eventually get to where you want to be.  After all, isn’t that better then suffering in silence!


Check out for the Ditch the Monkey series.