BY HELEN RIDDELL
TRANSITION year (TY) students at Beara Community School are helping to raise awareness, and promote positive mental health in their community, through the publication of a book 100 Years of Hope which will document the wealth of experience and resilience of the people of the Beara Peninsula.
The school’s involvement came about in 2014 when they put together and published a book You Are Not Alone, which gave students information on mental health issues, help and support available, as well as positive uplifting pieces, quotes for motivation and inspiration.
You Are Not Alone was launched last May by Fionnbar Walsh, father of the late Donal Walsh.
Following on from its success, a decision was made to extend the project, and a group of 18 of the school’s current TY students decided to look at the strength and resilience of Beara people throughout the years, when faced with life’s problems and how this wisdom could help the current generation.
The students are supported in the project by chaplain Marie Murphy, TY co-ordinator Kathleen Dwyer and Linda Stevens, a clinical psychologist, who was asked to work with the school by the Parent Teacher Association.
Ms Murphy said the pupils felt that the older generation had a better way of coping and dealing with life’s problems, and came up with the idea to interview them and record their stories and advice. ‘The response has been phenomenal,’ she said.
Students started the project by compiling a questionnaire, which asked about people’s experiences, stories about their life and examples of their resilience when faced with difficulties.
The questionnaires were distributed to other students in the school and their families, and various organisations and businesses throughout Beara. Students also contacted their neighbours and elderly people in their community, recording their stories of resilience, hope and courage.
Students are also working on fundraising in order to publish the book. Any individuals or businesses who would like to help with funding the publication can contact Marie Murphy at 027 70177 x 3 or at [email protected]