Mental health awareness has been voted as the top priority for Donegal Youth Council to work on over the next 2 years.
More than 150 young people aged 12-18 from every corner of the county attended the annual Youth Council Agenda Day in the Clannree Hotel in Letterkenny.
The conference gave them the opportunity to put forward issues for discussion, participate in facilitated discussions around each topic and vote to identify the top 5 key recommendations for the newly elected Youth Council to work on during their term.
There were 15 recommendations put forward for voting on the day, with the top 5 identified for further development by the Youth Council being:
MENTAL HEALTH – reduce stigma, knowing 5 a day & Positives, Teaching people to identify negative (help)
SPORT – more opportunities to try new and different sports
BULLYING – SPOT & STOP Road Show, to educate young people and adults, to be aware of and take action on bullying.
BODY IMAGE – Organise Express yourself DISCO in all schools (Boys and Girls wear what they want, Girls = no makeup or getting hair done)
SPORT – Raise awareness of lack of funding and opportunities in schools in Donegal
The event for the Youth Council also marked the end of term for the 2012-2014 Donegal Youth Council where they presented to the audience the progress they made in relation to identified topics from the previous AGM, while the day also saw the newly elected Donegal Youth Council presented before their peers for the first time. The audience was also addressed by Cathairleach of Donegal County Council John Campbell.
Donegal Youth Council is funded by Donegal County Council, HSE Health Promotion and the Department of Children and Youth Affairs and aims to provide young people with opportunities to identify, prioritise and work on topics and projects which have been identified by the wider youth population of the county and also to provide young people with opportunities to have their voice heard by being involved in the development of local services and policies which affect them
OTHER RECOMMENDATIONS PUT FORWARD FOR VOTING PROCESS
Road Safety – Fun Interactive workshop in schools for 5th Years on Road Safety and the consequences
Sexual Health – Get teachers who are interested in teaching sexual health having the opportunity to do so, or bring in professionals from other services
Body Image – Campaign to promote healthy Body Image among Teens in Donegal
Physical Health – DYC plan, organise and facilitate a school challenge of a couch to 5K programme and aim to raise awareness of diet, consequences of no physical activity and bad diet.
Physical Health – Helping everyone become involved in some physical activity through providing events to showcase sports, especially alternative sports like tag rugby etc.
Drugs & Alcohol – Organise an event for Parents that highlights the dangers of underage alcohol and drug abuse. eg hold meeting in local school.
Drugs & Alcohol – make Donegal’s young people more aware of the affects of Drugs/Alcohol/smoking
Bullying – hold a big event promoting bullying awareness & make a DVD to be shown at it & also available to take back to school youth clubs etc.
Racism/LGBT (Inequality) – We feel it is really important to educate young people about discrimination issues such as Racism and LGBT. To result in better Mental Health, confidence and atmosphere in schools. We want to do this through awareness training, starting with teachers, students and the community.
Employment – Raise awareness amongst local companies about Youth unemployment. Encourage business to employ young people/offer work experience and CV Skills