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Talk To Tom to launch new Youth Initiative - Headspace

The new resource programme will be launched by Headspace Ambassador Niall Kennedy and other special guests on February 14 at Gorey Community School

Talk To Tom Suicide Prevention are to launch a new youth mental Health initiative in Gorey.

The charity, alongside heavyweight boxing champion Niall ‘Boom Boom’ Kennedy and other special guests will be unveiling the new platform to students at Gorey Community School on February 14, with the first official event to be held in Gorey Boxing Club on February 22.

Headspace and aims to act as a resource for young people in the North Wexford area - connecting them to mental health services, addiction services and various other groups and organisations that can improve on their mental and physical wellbeing.

The new initiative aims to hold a number of events and workshops throughout the year as well as connecting them with events and programmes run by other organisations.

The aim of the programme is to encourage young people to "fill their heads with things they love," and aims to target various challenges such as loneliness and social isolation, suicide, anxiety and more.

The first official Headspace Event on February 22 will feature workshops ranging from Art and Yoga to Hurling and Rugby from Gorey’s foremost talents. They include:

  • Anthony Masterson -Football

  • Conor McDonald- Hurling

  • Caoimhe Molloy - Leinster rugby

  • Eoin & Gary Molloy- Hurling

  • Vicki Leigh - Yoga

  • Pound with Ais

  • Richie Ivory - Brazilian Ju Jitzu/MMA

  • Art workshop

  • Creagh Studios - Guitar and Ukulele Workshop

  • Boxing workshop - Niall Kennedy

  • Strength & Conditioning - Pace Gorey

  • Ladies Football - Amy Wilson & Cailin Fitzpatrick

  • Declan Gilmore -Sleep & Nutrition

To coincide with the launch there will also be a 24-hour fundraising event held on the same day. ‘The Fight Against Suicide’ is an endurance sponsorship event, also to be held in Gorey Boxing Club from 9am.

It will see participants stand in solidarity with those battling depression on a daily basis by battling the punching bags.

All proceeds will go towards Talk To Tom’s counselling services. Sign up to the event here.

Headspace Ambassador and fundraising event organiser Niall Kennedy said the event is about connecting with the young people of Gorey in as many ways as possible.

"It’s important to reach those who may be falling between the cracks and engaging them through sport, art, drama, music, whatever speaks to them," said the champ.

"Ever since I publicly announced that I suffer with BiPolar Disorder a number of years ago, people identify with me and contact me when they are feeling low. I also encounter a lot of people suffering with their mental wellbeing through my work with An Garda Siochana.

"I had a number of young people contact me during the Christmas period who were not in a good place - which is why I approached Talk To Tom with the idea of putting something together,” he added.

“We wanted an event that could raise some much needed funds for this group - they are a fantastic organisation who help so many people in Gorey. But we often don’t get to hear much about it due to the nature of the services - and there are so many fundraisers held in Gorey where the money goes straight out of the town. This money will stay in Gorey and help Gorey people," he added.

Niall Kennedy

“The idea for the Fight Against Suicide came up but we also wanted something that included everyone - not just those interested in boxing or sport.

"The 24-hour concept was to target those who maybe were too shy about coming in and saying hello during the day. And the idea of Headspace as a resource platform grew from the idea of the initial fundraising event when talking with Talk To Tom. It will now be a valuable resource for the young people of North Wexford.”

Talk To Tom CEO Ray Cullen said the group are delighted to have someone as dedicated and driven as Niall on board for this project.

"Headspace is about interacting with young people on as many levels as possible. One of the main principles of Headspace is to combat loneliness amongst teens - which is a growing issue across all age groups in Ireland," said Ray.

“Feeling alone or lonely can have a major impact on physical and mental health. Researchers have found that loneliness is just as lethal as smoking 15-cigarettes per-day. Lonely people are 50% more likely to die prematurely than those with healthy social relationship," he added.

Ray Cullen

"Scientists have long known that loneliness is emotionally painful and can lead to psychiatric disorders like depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, and even hallucinatory delirium. But only recently have they recognised how destructive it is to the body.

"In 2015, researchers at UCLA discovered that social isolation triggers cellular changes that result in chronic inflammation, predisposing the lonely to serious physical conditions like heart disease, stroke, metastatic cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease.

“One 2015 analysis, which pooled data from 70 studies following 3.4 million people over seven years, found that lonely individuals had a 26% higher risk of dying. This figure rose to 32% if they lived alone.

"Once thought to be an affliction suffered by the elderly - new evidence shows that millennials have been reporting feeling alone or isolated in record numbers. In a world where we have never been more connected - it seems many of us have never felt so alone," he added.

“We hope this initiative will connect young people with clubs, groups, and societies of all variations in the hopes of improving their mental and physical wellbeing and starting connections and a love for hobbies and sports that will last a lifetime.

“We will also be offering practical advice in relation to mental health services available in their area and hope that as many people will become involved in this project as possible.”

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