Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Peer Education Programme with Jigsaw

Day 1

The 18th October was the first day for the Jigsaw Peer Education Program. This program was attended by six lucky TY students along with students from Skerries Community College and Coláiste Ghlor na Mara. We all met with Ms. Costigan that morning feeling excited but nervous at the same time. We hopped on the bus and arrived in Coláiste Ghlor na Mara to meet with the students from the other schools. While we were walking up to the school our eyes started drifting showing us the glimpse of the brand new school we were just about to enter. 

After introducing ourselves in a unique fun way, Aoife and David (presenters and organisers of the program) went through the slideshow presentation explaining all about the basic grasp of mental health and what exactly is mental health. We later ended the program with a debate on weather we agree or disagree that "Young people are better off talking about their mental health to people their own age rather than to adults". Thinking we would hardly get anything covered from 9:30 am to 12:30 am was something we got wrong, we covered a lot within those 3 hours and we enjoyed meeting with new people. It was something that we all haven't tried before and it was a great experience. We were all looking forward to the next program.  

Day 2 

On the 24th of October, we set out on the small minibus driven by David that would take us to our desired desination -Coláiste Ghlor Na Mara in which our second Jigsaw session took place.We were all glad to see all of the other students as we had a great encounter with them during the first training session.This time Ms McKenna accompanied us to the session and kindly brought in sweet treats such as  biscuits and muffins that we all shared with each other during our break.

As we began the session we talked about the topics we had covered in the last session.We then played an interactive game in which we all stood in a circle and guessed each others names.We would each say our name and call out the name of the person we would pass the ball to.It was quite funny when we had to quickly pass the ball while simultaneously saying each others name which greatly tested our memories.By the end of the game we could all confidently say we knew each others names.

We then moved on to a walking debate in which we were given statements such as "It is the fault of the parents if their young child is suffering with mental health problems".Upon hearing these statements we would walk to the side of the room which said agree or to the side that said disagree. If we were not sure we would stay in the middle.We then voiced our opinions and reasons for agreeing,disagreeing or not being sure.

After this we went into detail of each piece of the presentation so we would gain a better understanding of mental health and the positive message behind the importance of good mental health.

Lastly we all brought out our props in which we would use to explain our various interests and hobbies and why they made us feel good. Many brought in books,sketch pads,note books ,scout badges,footballs and many more to present to the group.We all stood in front of each other and were given one minute to do our mini presentation.Although it seemed nerve racking at first, it was a great way to learn about each others talents and hobbies.It also improved our public speaking.

Once again after the fun packed three hour session, we said our goodbyes (and sláns to the Irish speaking staff at the reception) and headed straight to school just in time for lunch.

Day 3

Today was the third session of the peer education program organised by Jigsaw. We met with Ms. Ferris at 9:10 in the atrium for rollcall. Then we hopped on the bus with David along with the other students from Skerries Community College. This was our third session so we were getting used to to the place and becoming more comfortable with the people there. We sat down on our chairs and David and Aoife started the program with the third section of the mental health slideshow presentation. 

We did an activity within our school groups regarding raising mental health awareness through the app Twitter. We had to come up with a slogan and a few hashtags and the limited characters were 140. After presenting it to the other school groups we got in a circle and discussed mental health issues such as bullying, teenage relationships, anxiety and panic attacks. We discussed people to go when dealing with these particular issues. We then took a break which was everyone's favourite part of the time. We served ourselves tea, chocolate biscuits, and some Jaffa cakes. We joked around and got to know the each other even more. 

After the short break we were put into groups and we were giving giving another activity task. This times activity task was to discuss  " why young people find it hard to talk about their mental health " . Instead of discussing and presenting this in a normal way we presented it in news format along with the news background sound effects. We later on discussed one adult figures that we know in our lives, in anyone's lives, in TV shows, in movies or social media's. 

Here are a few examples...
Anyone's lives: mum, dad, aunt, uncle...

Movies: In the lion king Mufasa and Simba, in Moana Moana herself and her grandma, the fairy godmother in Cinderella. After saying goodbye to everyone we headed our way back to school back to our last class. 

Day 4

On the 14th of November, we met at 9:10 at the foyer. We were all slightly nervous as this would be the first Jigsaw training session that we had to present the presentation entitled "Its Time To Start Talking" in front of each other.

As I took many sips of water to calm my nerves, the Jigsaw Peer Education staff, David and Aoife suggested we start our 4th session with an ice breaker. We played the game "Fruit Salad" in which we were all given the name of a fruit. One person would call out a fruit e.g. orange. All the oranges would then get off their seats and quickly rush to another seat before they were all taken.The person left with no seat would call out another fruit and so on.The ice breaker calmed down my nerves as I was quite awake and adrenaline boosted afterwards.

We then had our ten minute break.Of course we were once again supplied with the usual tasty treats of chocolate biscuits, muffins,tea and coffee. Mmmm!

Aoife and David were the first ones to do the presentation to quickly remind us of how it is done before we students did it. I was extremely grateful for this as it was a good guide to how I would present the slides.When they were done it was time for us to begin the presentation. We were each given a sheet in which we would constructively criticize each others performance.We all went up and even though some of us were quite nervous at first, we all did a particularly impressive job. I was certainly happy with my performance and figured it wasn't as bad I thought it would be.That was quite a relief!

After everyone had went up, we all pointed out each others strengths and things we could work on from the presentation.We truly learned  a lot from this session and found ways that we could improve our public speaking skills.It was the best way to learn from our mistakes and to hopefully deliver these talks with no difficulties to our peers in school.

Once the session was over we said our goodbyes and left with our heads high feeling proud of ourselves and each other.

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