SWC to tackle Young People's Mental Health Stigma

SWC to tackle Young People's Mental Health Stigma
February, 2015
A mental health awareness conference entitled ‘Young Minds Matter’ was launched on Monday 9th February 2015 at the South West College (SWC), Omagh. The conference, which will be held on Wednesday 25th February at SWC Omagh, has been organised as part of the College’s Outreach Programme in association with NIAMH (Northern Ireland Association for Mental Health), PSNI (Police Service of Northern Ireland) and WHSCT (Western Health and Social Care Trust).
Sadly the society we live in can be detrimental to the mental health of children and young people, with the impacts of family breakdown, the rise of social networking, violence, peer pressure and substance abuse often leading to mental disorders, anxiety, depression and conduct disorders. Despite children and young people’s mental health being high on the agenda for campaigners, there is still work to be done to raise awareness of the various mental health issues and to reduce the stigma associated with mental health.
Celine McCartan, Deputy Director and Head of Corporate Services at South West College said:

“The aim of this event is to remove stigmas about mental health issues through engagement activities and open discussion. It is hoped that young adults and parents/guardians alike will find the conference engaging and raise awareness of prevalent issues such as family pressures, body image, substance abuse and social media.”

The Young Minds Matter conference will incorporate three sessions during the course of the day, each facilitated by renowned Communications and Lifestyle Consultant, Billy Dixon and will feature a short screenplay entitled ‘Baggage’, produced in association with NIAMH and performed by the Performing Arts students from South West College.
The first and second sessions held at 10.00am and 1.00pm have been specifically developed for young adults from schools and colleges across Omagh to provide an opportunity for discussion around mental health issues and general life pressures. The third session, held in the evening from 7.30pm – 9.30pm, is open to the parents/guardians and the general public, which will provide vital information and support to raise awareness of issues that are particularly prevalent for young adults in today’s society.
Shocking statistics are readily available that clearly demonstrate the growing occurrences of mental health issues in young adults; ‘850,000 children and young people in the UK have a mental health problem – and that’s just the ones that have been diagnosed’ (www.youngminds.org.uk).
Anne Clarke, Programme Manager, NIAMH said:

“With good mental health, children and young people do better in many aspects of life including, family, friendships, education and new experiences.

 “In addition to providing a platform for open discussion and engagement with young adults and parents/guardians, this event will highlight the necessity in addressing issues early on and we will also direct those concerned to support services available locally.” 

For further information or to register your attendance please contact Leanne.Patton@swc.ac.uk or call Leanne on 0845 603 1881 ext 5419.