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Event hoping to get teens talking and to know they are never alone

February 8th, 2019 7:10 AM

By Brian Moore

Anna Geary with Niall O'Callaghan (back left), Cork County Council and Pat Divilly, Irish fitness expert, with Dylan Roberts of Bandon Grammar School and Abby O'Callaghan of Colaiste Choilm Ballincollig. (Photo: Brian Lougheed)

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THE trials and tribulations of teenage life are not unique to you – we’ve all been there. 

That’s the message from Cork camogie star Anna Geary who was speaking at the launch of Teen Talks, an initiative to promote positive mental health, fitness and well being to young people in the area. 

‘We’ve all been there,’ Anna said. ‘We’ve all experienced the trials and tribulations and Teen Talks is a really good way to see that everybody feels the same pressure, and that you are not alone.’

Anna will be the guest speaker at the West Cork Teen Talks to be held in Bantry in March.

‘We will discuss health, nutrition, fitness and well being, as well as social media use and mental health issues,’ Anna said. ‘For me exercise is very important and I don’t mean just going to the gym. Movement, going for a 20 minute walk is all it takes, not just for your body but for your mind as well. Believe me, I know what it’s like not to want to get up and get moving but I say, “think about how good you’ll feel afterwards”.’

Also at the launch of Teen Talks, a programme which is co-ordinated by Cork County Council, Healthy Ireland and Pobal, and the Local Community Development Committees (LCDCs) at the County Hall this week, was a delegation of transition year students from Bandon Grammar School. BGS guidance councillor Brian Kearney said: ‘Teen Talks are a great way for students to connect and to understand that wellbeing and a healthy lifestyle isn’t just about talking to someone about what’s bothering you.

‘Being active and involved with your surroundings is also extremely important, we all need to take a holistic approach. Also these days teenagers face the same issues as they always have but these are intensified by social media. It’s all about taking back control and I know this is easier said than done but even putting the phone away for a certain amount of time each day will help. Some of our TY students will be attending the Teen Talks event in Bantry and when they return they will be mental health ambassadors for the school.’                                                           

Speaking at the launch, countymayor Patrick Gerard Murphy invited students to the Teen Talks events, which will take place in north, east and West Cork in February and March.

‘As part of Healthy Cork, we are committed to supporting our young people and their health and wellbeing,’ Cllr Murphy said. 

‘We are inviting transition year students across Cork to come to Teen Talks to hear from their peers, health and fitness experts and those who are experienced in creating coping mechanisms for the challenges that we face today. Teen Talks communicate important messages, in an engaging way, about life and positive changes you can adopt to help you live a healthy, happy life.’

Principal of Skibbereen Community School Anton O’Mahony knows the importance of a rounded approach when it comes to developing good mental and physical health for his students.  

‘Mental health, along with physical, emotional, social wellbeing and resilience are key elements of the student’s experience of school life,’ Anton said. 

‘The school has many structures, programmes and initiatives designed to impact positively on mental health and the other elements of wellbeing.’ 

Some examples of programmes in place at Skibbereen Community School include the student support team, year heads, guidance and chaplaincy services, and extra-curricular programmes, partnerships with outside agencies, visiting speakers, anxiety workshops, attendance at events such as CIT’s On the Couch seminar, the TY Wellbeing module, Amber Flag, Student Council, Learning to Learn, attendance at Teen Talks and an upcoming wellbeing week.

West Cork secondary schools are now invited to bring transition year students to the free Teen Talk event, which is taking place from 10am to 1pm in Bantry’s Westlodge Hotel, with host Anna Geary, on Thursday 7th March. 

For more, or to register, visit www.corkcoco.ie

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