Monday, 7 July 2014

A little inspiration gets me through where I've been

Today I wanted to share my volunteer work with See Change with you. It’s all about the ripple effect; starting the conversation about mental health here on my blog can lead to another conversation about mental health, and another... It’s a ripple effect that can touch entire communities.

See Change is Ireland’s national programme working to change minds about mental health in Ireland. They work in partnership with over 50 organisations to create a community driven social movement to reduce the stigma and discrimination associated with mental health problems.

See Change campaign through the 1 in 4 statistic;
The statistic is that one in four of us will experience a mental health problem in our lifetimes:
1 in 4 . . . That’s enough people to fill Croke Park 14 times over.
1 in 4 . . . That’s six times the population of all our Universities and ITs combined.

They work to increase and promote mental health awareness through campaigns such as #makearipple and the Green Ribbon project.

In March 2013 I attended a training day with See Change to become a national volunteer.  

 ‘Every person has the power to help stop the stigma of mental health problems.’

Some of my fellow RippleMakers
The simple half-day briefing gave me the confidence and motivation to be a change in my community.
The Green Ribbon project was brought to Ireland by See Change in May 2013. The idea was simple; make the month of May a national month of mental health awareness. Just as the Pink Ribbon has become synonymous with Breast Cancer Awareness in October, the Green Ribbon could represent mental health. Wearing a ribbon would become a sign that you supported the cause, not through monetary donations, but through awareness and starting a conversation about mental health.

The Green Ribbon launch was the first See Change project I became involved with. Throughout May 2013 I handed out ribbons at Conferences, my University, in Hueston Station, and to my friends and family. I spent the month interacting with strangers, spreading the message and sharing the cause.

See Change paved the way for me to not only raise mental health awareness in outreach events, but to add my voice to the cause. In March of this year I was asked to become an Ambassador for the programme.  I was invited to begin using my experiences with mental health to help others. The speaking opportunities that now presented themselves allowed me to begin to share my story. In May I was in the Sunday Independent speaking about my experiences with Depression.
Ending Stigma one blog post at a time

Me. In a national paper. I could never have dreamed I would be brave enough, yet alone given the opportunity. But that’s the beauty of the See Change belief. That everyone’s mental health story is important and powerful. I will forever be grateful for what See Change have given me. I probably would never have started this blog if it wasn’t for the new importance they helped me give to my mental health story.
But it’s also an example of the importance of volunteering – giving your time can open up so many new opportunities.

It’s the ripple effect.

I went from volunteer,  to youth panel member, to ambassador, to blogger.  Each time talking about mental health; taking a stand against stigma.

ALL the Green Ribbons

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