On Thursday, the 13th of October, 50 TY’s from our school were invited to a day of workshops in the Abbey Hotel in Donegal Town. This was organized by Connect Mental Health and Foroige Youth Project. it was part of Connect Mental Health week. This event involved interactive and fun workshops about different things to do with your mental health such as eating well, being active and the importance of balance and relaxation. I had volunteered to help out with Connect Mental Health Week, I was invited to go to the event.
On Thursday morning, we went on a bus to Donegal Town and were brought into the Abbey Hotel. There was a board with the lists of the different groups for the workshops. I was in the purple group and was given a purple wristband. We first went into the ballroom and were greeted by other students from other schools across Donegal who we were mixed with. There was a stall with fruit, snacks and water that we could take for free. We sat down to listen to a talk by Breifne Earley, who cycled across the world in 2014/2015. He told us how he had suffered badly with depression and suicidal thoughts, he also told us about how he decided to turn his life around. He also showed us a video with different clips of all 27 countries he travelled across. It was inspirational.
We had 5 workshops,each workshop was about 40 minutes long. Our first workshop was yoga. The woman done simple exercises with us. It was very relaxing and calming and a nice way to start the morning. She told us the importance of relaxation and de-stressing by doing something you enjoy such as reading or having a bath. Yoga is a very good way to calm down and relax and take some time for yourself. The second workshop we did was a cooking demonstration by Donegal chef,Zack Gallagher. He showed us how to do a simple chicken stir-fry and gave us basic tips when cooking meals. He told us the importance of eating healthy food for our mental health, let alone our physical health. It was very interesting and also tasted really good. Our next workshop was a dance workshop and was my favorite workshop of the day. A woman called Theresa done dancing with us and told us how important it was to be yourself and not be afraid to be different. It was super fun and I really enjoyed it. We then went and got lunch and returned to the Abbey Hotel for our final 2 workshops.
After lunch, our next 2 workshops were more serious. Our first talk was with a woman who works for Jigsaw, a youth mental health organization. She talked to us about the importance of speaking out if we had a problem and showed us some videos about sharing problems. She also talked to us about the Donegal Youth Council and what they do. Our final talk was about minding our mental health and basically summarized the whole day.
I thoroughly enjoyed this day and it made me realize the different things that can affect our mental health and the importance of minding it!