Some years ago, a 16-year-old told us that he wished his friends could walk in his shoes for a day so they could truly understand what it’s like to live with a mental health difficulty. This off-the-cuff but powerful comment inspired our hugely successful Walk in My Shoes (WIMS) education and awareness-raising campaign, which was established initially in 2012. It has evolved significantly since its beginnings, and 2018 saw a focus on promoting mental health awareness and well-being in schools. During the year, we ran a number of initiatives under the wider umbrella of the WIMS campaign.
Transition Year Programme
The popular annual Transition Year (TY) Programme again took place in 2018, with over 200 TY students in Ireland applying for a place.
Transition Year Programme
We provide one-week placements in SPMHS for over 100 students, aiming to educate young people about mental health and career opportunities within the mental health sector directly from clinicians at the campus of St Patrick’s University Hospital (SPUH). The students have approximately five sessions each day focusing on various aspects of mental health and they get to take part in a mock Multidisciplinary Team (MDT) meeting with clinicians. We have received very positive feedback from students who have taken part to date, and we have a graduation ceremony each year where students receive a certificate. The goal is to highlight and create awareness of mental health and wellbeing to TY students, with the aim that they return to their school as a WIMS or mental health ambassador. Each participating student must deliver a mental health initiative in their school following their placement. To date, we have welcomed almost 500 students on to the programme from all over the country.
The third year of the #MindYourSelfie campaign saw celebrities such as Adam Clayton and Bláthnaid Treacy encourage young people to post a selfie on social media in a bid to highlight free resources available to teachers on the WIMS website.
The campaign also saw the launch of the “Mindfulness Wellbeing Calendar”, which was downloaded almost 1,000 times. It reached over 2.25 million people and achieved 4 million impressions on Twitter and Instagram, featuring the hashtag #MindYourSelfie.
2018 saw the second year of our Mission Possible School Achievement Awards. This initiative aims to celebrate and acknowledge the work schools undertake to promote positive mental health. Schools submitted evidence of their wellbeing initiatives, events and projects before an awards ceremony held in April 2018. Judges included Fergus Finlay, Barnardos Chief Executive Officer (CEO).
There were eight entries in each of the Primary and Secondary categories in 2018, and all entries submitted presented an impressive and inspiring array of initiatives, including the introduction of a Buddy Seat, celebration of Friendship Week, and collaborations with community organisations. Winners in the Primary category were St Killian’s Junior National School, based in Tallaght, Dublin, while Mountrath Community School from County Laois won the Secondary category.
Walk in My Shoes Radio (WIMS FM) is Ireland's only pop-up station dedicated to the promotion of positive mental health and aims to offer positive and informative insights on mental health.
Marking its fifth year in 2018, the pop-up station hit the airwaves during Mental Health Awareness Week in October, and the presenter line-up featured RTÉ 2FM's Jenny Greene, Stephen Byrne and Bláthnaid Treacy; social media star James Patrice; television presenter Maia Dunphy; and comedian Alison Spittle.
In 2018, over 70 hours of radio were broadcast from the studio in SPUH, promoting and educating the public on positive mental health awareness. Content was aligned with the World Federation for Mental Health’s 2018 theme of young people and mental health. For the first time, in 2018, a two-hour “Primary School Special” show featuring Bressie, Paddy Courtney, Eoghan McDermott, Diana Bunici and Dr Colman Noctor was broadcast on World Mental Health Day, 10 October. Over 500 classrooms (16,000 students) tuned in to the School Special.
Frame of Mind
Marking its fifth year running in 2018, the Frame of Mind competition is a WIMS initiative aiming to improve awareness about mental health and to remove the stigma associated with mental health difficulties through filmmaking. Budding filmmakers from schools, as well as the general public, were invited to submit short films. Judges for the competition included RTÉ’s Michael Doherty, film director Nick Kelly, and screenwriter and actor Paddy Courtney.
Frame of Mind
2018 was another successful year, with 28 entries received in the General category and 43 in the Secondary Schools category. Filmmakers were asked to produce a short film that they believe challenges stigma or illustrates the importance of positive mental health. First place in the Secondary School category was awarded to St Patrick’s College, Cork for their live action animation “What I Do When I Feel Blue”, while in the General category, first prize was awarded to Seán T. Ó Meallaigh from Stoneybatter in Dublin 7 with his short film titled “Gimme a Shout”.
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