What it’s like to be a SpunOut Action Panel Member
Zoe tells us what it's like to be on the SpunOut Action Panel
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
"I can vividly remember the first time I looked up SpunOut and realised that I wasn't alone. There were accounts from people going through similar situations to me."
I became involved with SpunOut through a recommendation. During my third year in secondary school I suffered from intense panic attacks and anxiety about the Junior Cert. I know there was no need for it but in my defense it was the first time anyone in my family sat State Examinations this century. I was having a really bad time trying to juggle school, friends, family and hobbies. I couldn't handle the stress of everything and because of that everything in my life suffered.
One of my teachers noticed I was on the verge of a mental breakdown and told me to look up SpunOut and read some articles about anxiety. I had never heard of SpunOut up until that point. I can vividly remember the first time I looked up SpunOut and realised that I wasn't alone. There were accounts from people going through similar situations to me. I then realised that I should talk to someone about my stress. Thanks to SpunOut I got help from professionals and was diagnosed with anxiety and depression.
I had been an advocate reader of SpunOut from that point forward. During the summer of 2015 I saw an article that said SpunOut were looking for new Action Panel members. I applied straightaway thinking there was no harm in applying. To say I was shocked to find out I had been accepted is an understatement.
Since I've been on the Action Panel there's been three Action Panel Meetings. During that time SpunOut turned 10 and there was an event at Facebook HQ to celebrate that. Currently the Action Panel are talking about hosting an event with workshops and talks for a day. I've only been on the Action Panel for five months but I'm thoroughly enjoying my time at SpunOut and hope to spend years more with them. I have met some amazing people who come from all around the country that I would never have previously had a chance to meet.
The topics that I have a keen interest in are mental health(obviously) and education. I believe that mental health for young people in Ireland is still quite a taboo topic. There is a lot of information and help out there but young people are having trouble finding it. The work SpunOut are doing regarding mental health is definitely a step in the right direction. I also believe that the education system in this country needs improvements. The new points system is one area I feel needs serious reforming. I hope that by working on the Action Panel this issues can be addressed even more so than they are now.
The Action Panel also offer their services to SpunOut when it comes to relevant campaigns, members contribute articles, they proof read content and they generally offer criticism and suggest ways of improving content. We give our input because as young people we are the targeted audience for SpunOut.
SpunOut.ie Action Panels advise SpunOut on the key topics that impact young people in their area. SpunOut.ie's core approach is “by young people, for young people” and the Action Panels are integral in providing direction on the information needs of young people from each region and in generating solutions for these needs. The Action Panels aim to engage and facilitate young people’s voices.
To learn more about the Action Panel and how you can apply for the panel, visit our Action Panel application page.
If you're interested in volunteering with SpunOut.ie but the Action Panel is not your thing, check out our other volunteering options here.