The Peer Mental Health Education Programme is a course run by the youth mental health service Jigsaw D15, which aims to help young people educate each other on how to look after their mental health. Jigsaw sends its own staff out into schools to train students recruited to deliver a forty minute talk called It’s Time to Start Talking. This presentation encourages young people to take care of their mental health and attempts to reduce any stigma surrounding the topic. The idea of using young people to give the presentation stems from the idea that young people with listen to their peers from their own school, more so than they’ll listen to adults.
Five students from Hartstown’s fifth year completed the programme and presented it to TY and third year classes. First we had a session in Jigsaw’s hub in the Blanchardstown Library. Over the following weeks, we visited some of the other schools that were taking part in order to finish the programme. We learnt different skills, such as public speaking, team building and signposting that helped us to give the presentation to the best of our abilities. We became more confident as speakers and in ourselves.
We also took part in the 100 Reasons Walk on the 10th of October (World Mental Health Day), which was an event arranged by Jigsaw to raise awareness for youth mental health. Participants walked from their school to the Draoícht where talks were given by local politicians and public figures. Every participant walked with a sign about why we should care about youth mental health. One of our Peer Educators, Billy Martin, presented the event. We had a chance to celebrate our all our work this year at a graduation ceremony in Draoícht on the 9th of March. We were presented with certificates by the CEO of Jigsaw, Joseph Duffy.
Overall our experience of Jigsaw and the Peer Education Programme was very positive and enabled us to be more confident in ourselves. We’d like to thank Aoife and Dave (and his beard!) for running the programme, and Mr. Keane for getting us involved with such a great programme.