“I learned that I can be a hero”: Soar deliver ‘It Takes A Village’ workshop for young CHI Members in Carlow

June 21, 2022

CHI recently partnered with Soar, to run ‘It Takes A Village’ which will see several mental health workshops for CHI young people and parents take place over the coming months. The campaign was named in reference to the old adage ‘It takes a village to raise a child’ highlighting the importance of community not only in the growth and development of young people, but also to foster and support mental health and wellbeing. Soar is an organisation that believes all young people have the potential for greatness. They help them release this by creating and providing character development programs where they can thrive, stretch their comfort zones and learn how to believe in their own unique voice.

On Wednesday 15th June, the first workshop took place in Carlow, with young people living in CHI homes locally joining the session. Talking about mental health and putting yourself out there in a group context can be no easy feat, even less so as a young person, so the workshop started with ice breakers and team building activities. Later in the session, participants challenged what it means to be a teenager and learned how to be a hero both for themselves and their community. The facilitators encouraged participants to guide themselves and lean on their own knowledge.

The session allowed participants to reflect and share their advice to young people struggling with their mental health. When asked what advice they would give to a young person in such a situation, one  participant, Kaiza responded:

“I’d just tell them that you are not alone with this, there are lots of people and resources there to help them. If you have someone, not a parent, but maybe talk a teacher to go look for help, or someone in your school, or someone in your community, if you go to football club, for example.”

Participants also discussed what they would want the adults in their lives to know about what young people go through:

“I’d want them to know that it’s tough for teenagers as well, not just adults, it’s for everyone, and to respect that.”

The workshop also allowed them to think about different support available, and what they would do if a friend was going through a difficult time.

Gabriella told the group, “[I’d tell them] to always seek help, I know sometimes you don’t always want to talk to people about it, it can be really difficult but it’s not really good to box up information.”

Kaiza echoed that, “I’d say listen to them, because it can be really difficult to talk about what you’re going through with another person. Just being there for them can mean a lot, don’t force them into telling them what you want to hear, just listen to what they say.”

82% of respondents said they would feel more comfortable reaching out for support if they needed it after the workshop. Speaking about the impact the project will have, CHI’s Member Engagement Manager Anthony Burrowes said, “This project is a step towards supporting our members to understand mental health and actively learn how to maintain positive well-being as well as knowing where to go to get support, when and if it is needed.”

Two further in-person workshops for young people are taking place in July in Cork, and online Zoom sessions for parents are being held in June and September. If you are a Member looking to take part, keep an eye on your email for details on how to sign up.

CHI is grateful to the Housing Finance Agency for financial support in the delivery of this project.

Visit https://www.soar.ie/support-available/ for information about resources and support in your area.

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