Students tackle the issue of mental health

We all know how serious cyber bullying is, and the importance of the mental well-being of teenagers – but how many of us will do something about it?

We all know how serious cyber bullying is, and the importance of the mental well-being of teenagers – but how many of us will do something about it?

Two young men, Michael Gaffney and Ben Moylan, who attend Colaiste Eamonn Ris in Callan and St Kieran’s in Kilkenny City respectively, have decided to stand up and inform people about mental health in adolescence. The pair have started a project which will educate people on issues such as cyber bullying, depression and mental health in the teenage years, called ‘The Understanding Project’.

Michael Gaffney’s inspiration for starting this project came from how many people he saw were depressed on Facebook and Tumblr. “People really dislike life at the moment with no specific reason,” says Michael.

“I was curious as to how many people actually knew what depression was. So I created ‘The Understanding Project’.”

Ben Moylan a

“Depression in young people is an important issue that has a negative stigma surrounding it, I believe raising awareness is the first step,” he says.

The pair hopes that young people, specifically, understand how serious depression is, and that it can be helped and treated. Michael and Ben also hope that by the end of the project, if there ever is an end, is to stand in front of a group of people and talk about depression, self harm and suicides.

“Ireland has an alarming suicide rate, and it needs to be addressed,” they say.

The first part of ‘The Understanding Project’ is a YouTube video in which Michael Gaffney interviews Ben Moylan and a friend, Louise McKenna, who gave up their own time to take part in the interview. Ben and Louise are asked for their opinions on depression, cyber bullying and self harm.

Michael and Ben hope that in the future the project will move on to Facebook to get more people aware of the project and eventually the pair hope to give a talk to a group of teenagers and adults on the topics discussed. You can see Michael and Ben’s progress at YouTube.com/UnderstandingProject.