Hi, my name is Ishita and I have been living in Ireland for the last 13 years. In my time here, I have seen many ups and downs. Most of Ireland is quite an accepting place for everyone. I went to a school that had students from over 30 different cultures and had committees set up to make sure as many cultural events as possible took place.
Unfortunately, not everything can be as perfect as we want it to be. Between the youth in Ireland, we face many different problems such as addiction, fatphobia, racism and issues with mental health.
It is very different growing up here in comparison to other countries. The biggest thing I have noticed here between the young people is that everyone is very closed off from each other. We avoid talking and sharing more detail than we need to with others. In my opinion, this is because of the serious problems in young people’s mental health.
No one likes to talk about it; we all pretend we are fine but really, there’s always something going on. Some suffer from acceptance issues, some from domestic abuse, and some from anxiety problems. I deal with anxiety problems, which affects both my mental and physical health.
Resources in Ireland
But luckily for anyone that chooses to come here, there are lots of services for young people. You can go to different places to look after yourself and talk to someone. It can all be done on a budget as well. For example, Jigsaw holds online anonymous sessions for people to talk to a professional without having to leave their room. There are also multiple helplines running 24/7.
The great thing about Ireland is that we try our best to make sure everyone knows about these facilities too and that they are not just there and people have to figure it out on their own. The likes of the Irish Heart Foundation made up a youth advisory panel full of students such as myself to help find the best ways possible to send out these messages as well as see what we think are the biggest problems today. They work with many different places who all take every word we say into consideration when coming out with a new project or programme.
There is one other thing you might have to worry about when you come to Ireland. You have to be careful of where you live. Every neighbourhood is different and has its problems. You will constantly be hearing of different stories of gang wars, drug dealers, paedophiles etc. As much as we wish we could avoid ever being stuck in the middle of these situations, you will always come across someone.
Kids are taken up at such a young age to become dealers because of their families. Others are looking for the fastest way to earn money or just get caught up in peer pressure. You have to be careful where you are and who you are with. Make sure all friends you make are ones you trust. It’s always your decision.
Drug addiction is and will never be a good thing. We are young. We can be caught up in the hype of trying something once or peer pressure. No one in this world is allowed to force you to do anything. If you have younger siblings take care of them because they know even less than you do.
I live in a neighbourhood that isn’t the safest of places so I know first-hand how bad things can be. There are days when the local playground could have beer bottles smashed on the ground and needles scattered around the place. As a teen, I know more about this stuff than many adult do. Everything is scattered all over social media and there is no way to avoid it.
It is up to you to decide what you want to do. You can sit silent and mind your own business or you could speak out about it.
I wish there was some way that you could avoid a situation like this ever arising but as time has been going on more and more young people are caught up in stuff like this. Drug addiction is a serious problem in every country. I consider Ireland being one of the safer places because it isn’t as heavily consumed here in comparison to the likes of other countries and the behaviour is controlled.
There for you
So I like to believe that even though there are many cases of drug addiction here it is still a safer place than most. You just have to make sure you never let anyone force you to do anything because it is your choice. You have a voice, which must be respected. If others don’t you are in the wrong crowd.
Overall Ireland always has support available for anyone struggling. There is always someone you can talk to or ask for help. We may be secretive and closed off from people but whenever someone needs help, we are all there for you. Never live in fear. Use the helplines, the online websites or just talk to a friend. There is always someone available to listen.
This is part of the Fresh Éire collection of lived experience pieces from young people about living in Ireland, while experiencing racism and navigating identity and belonging.
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