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The Mental Health Ball in aid of Jigsaw

Teresa talks about how one girl is making a difference for mental health in Galway


Written by Teresa Clifford and posted in opinion


This is an opinion of a young person and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of SpunOut.ie. It is one person's experience and may be different for you. If you'd like to write something for SpunOut.ie please contact editor@spunout.ie.


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In recent years mental health, especially that of young people, has become more openly spoken about and thankfully information about mental disorders and mental health resources is more widely available than ever. However, there’s still so much that can be done and that needs to be done. There are many fantastic mental health organisations across the country doing amazing work every day and every bit of support they get goes towards helping others.

One way in which a teenager is supporting these great organisations with a Mental Health Ball. Rebecca Stoker, a 16 year old from Galway, is organising a ball on the 5th of June in the Loughrea Hotel in Ballinasloe for teenagers aged between 15 and 18 in support of the charity Jigsaw.

Jigsaw are a team of supporters, professionals, volunteers, campaigners and people who are passionate about supporting young people with their mental health. They are “working to change how Ireland thinks about and responds to young people’s mental health”.

Supporting young people

After struggling with her own mental health she started to think about how many people her age are dealing with similar problems; what young people are doing and can do to support other young people and also “how much more people need to realise that this is a big issue as everybody at some stage has had a rough patch”. This caused her to want to take action; she started thinking of how she could get young people involved while also doing something that they would enjoy. She came up with the great idea of a ball; a night out without alcohol where you can dress up, dance the night away with friends and support a great cause and possibly listen to a guest speaker from Jigsaw and get more informed about all they do.

As someone who has used Jigsaw’s services I know how hard they work, how brilliant their work is and how vital it could be to someone struggling. Upon hearing about what Rebecca was planning I immediately wanted to help as much as I could. I got speaking to Rebecca and agreed with her that while talk of mental health is now more mainstream, it still isn’t spoken about or taken seriously enough especially in schools where overwhelming stress and so much pressure to do well in tests really affects students mental health. There is a strong focus on exam results in school but not as much of a focus on mental wellbeing, and this can leave students struggling and left going into adulthood not knowing how to take care of their mental health and how they can seek help.

Sparking conversation

That’s the beauty of this ball: it’s not only an event for teenagers to have some fun or to support an organisation, it also gives young people a chance to start really thinking about positive mental health and hopefully get to hear from a professional in the area and really start understanding its importance. With any luck it will spark a conversation amongst these young people, start allowing them to feel more comfortable seeking help and speaking openly about any mental health problems they may have and maybe even start thinking about how they too can take action in supporting mental health organisations.

All information and updates about the ball can be found on Instagram.

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Published May 16th, 2018
Tags mental health wellbeing activism depression health
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