Adamstown Community College, Lucan

Seven schools from across County Dublin, including Adamstown Community College, Lucan and Colaiste Bride, Clondalkin are among the first in Ireland to implement a new mental health programme, HEADSTRONG, in association with Cycle Against Suicide – to address the stigma of suicide amongst young people.

On October 4, Cycle Against Suicide convened the first HEADSTRONG summit at the Honourable Society of the Kings Inns, Constitution Hill in Dublin which was attended by young people from 21 schools across the country.

Summits are the anchor of HEADSTRONG. They educate and empower young people to become mental health champions and mobilises them to return to their schools and communities and engage and educate their peers to also become mental health champions, driving true change in the area of stigma.

Caroline Lafferty, CEO of Cycle Against Suicide said: “We have worked with the Mental Health Commission of Canada to introduce HEADSTRONG to our schools here in Ireland as we believe that this programme is invaluable in helping younger people to be brave and speak up about mental health.”

According to UNICEF’s latest report card on child well-being “Ireland has the fourth highest teen suicide rate in the EU/OECD region.”
The report card warns that one in 10,000 Irish youth aged 15-19 will die by suicide.

The report further shows that in younger teens, aged 11-15, “more than 22% report having experienced two or more psychological symptoms more than once a week”.

Even as Ireland faces those alarming statistics, an online survey by St Patrick’s Mental Health Services shows that there is still great stigma attached to mental health issues.

According to the study, two thirds of the respondents said it was a sign of personal failure to be treated for a mental health issue.

To find information about where you can get help for mental health issues, visit here.