Snow White and the 7 Mental Health Helpers

In 2013, a group of our young people from the Cashel and Tipp Youth Projects came together to create a peer led programme for 5th and 6th class students. It looks at mental health and the stigma surrounding it. The message of the programme is “it’s ok to talk about mental health”. It leaves young people with some coping strategies to help if they find themselves in difficulty. The key to the programme is the message is delivered by young people’s peers. Schools have responded well to the programme with one teacher saying it was “Absolutely excellent. The trainers were well prepared, polite and articulate”. Below is a young person’s experience of being trained and then delivering the Snow White programme to schools.

Snow White and the 7 Mental Health Helpers“I was trained to facilitate Snow White and the 7 Mental Health Helpers in 2014. From that experience, I have gained a lot of knowledge about mental health and young people. When we started training, we were divided into groups. These groups consisted of who we would be facilitating with going to the schools. To get to know each other, we started playing some ice-breaker games. We then started learning how to deliver the project. It was a very enjoyable day and we all agreed how good the training was.

We then started going out to the schools. My group went to 4 different schools. Our first school was the scariest. We all felt nervous and didn’t know how the kids would react. To begin, we played some ice-breakers to help everyone relax. The kids seemed to react positively and they were able to remember most things we told them. After the first school, we were all more comfortable and able to facilitate it without any issues. Building the confidence to stand in front of a group of your peers and speak is difficult. With the support of our leaders, and some practice, we all felt relaxed and prepared. Standing up in our very first classroom we were all nervous. We were teenagers trying to talk about mental health. It was terrifying! Once we realised we could do it and that it was making a difference, we had good craic and our fears were no longer there. Overall it was an excellent experience and it’s definitely something I would do again.” – Blake Coleman

We hope to develop it further to ensure it goes from strength to strength and allowing us to reach more schools!

Catherine Doyle – Cashel Youth Project