Real Talks with St. Aidan’s Comprehensive Cootehill


Friday, November 11, 2016


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92% of the 65 students better understood the importance of managing their mental health

91% were more aware of the little things that can help to develop resilience

Earlier this week, we had a real talk with Leaving Cert students of St. Aidan’s Comprehensive, Cootehill.

In summary, the reaction of students to the Real Talks sessions held by Alan O’Mara was extremely positive and the main learning outcomes were achieved as students better understood how to manage their own mental health, look out for others, and have meaningful conversations about wellbeing.

92% of the 65 students surveyed admitted they better understood the importance of managing their own individual mental health, while 91% felt they were more aware of the little things they could do to build their own resilience. An impressive 94% of students admitted that they now felt having real talks with family and friends will help them to live a happier, healthier life.

 The Results

Each student was asked to answer the following statements after the successful completion of the ‘Real Talks’ session, which lasted 40 minutes each. Every question had five options; Strongly Agree, Agree, Neutral, Disagree, Strongly Disagree.

Real Talks Evaluation Statement   

  • During the Real Talks session, an environment was created that allowed a meaningful conversation to take place = 95%
  • I would be more willing to open up and have a meaningful conversation with others = 86%
  • I have a better understanding of the importance of managing my own mental health and wellbeing = 92%
  • I am more aware of the little things I can do to develop my own resilience = 91%
  • I have a better understanding of how to be a better listener = 86%
  • The real talk session helped to reduce any stigma that I had towards mental health = 86%
  • I am more aware of the professional support services and resources that people can use in times of difficulty = 89%
  • When a person is talking to me, I feel better equipped to connect and communicate with them more effectively = 91%
  • After today’s real talk, I believe that having meaningful conversations can help me live a happier, healthier and more successful life = 94%

What they said

Each student was asked, ‘If you could share one key lesson with someone from today’s real talk, what would it be?’. Here are some of the answers we received.

 “It’s okay to talk about my feelings and to try new things.”

 “That it is acceptable to feel low sometimes but that it is essential to recognise the seriousness of your sadness and possibly talk to someone about it.”

“The idea of a problem shared is a problem halved really stuck with me.”

 “Things are easier when you talk about them.”

“Don’t be afraid to speak up. There is always help out there.”

 “That life gets better one step at a time. Don’t be afraid to open up as you are not the only one.”

“I need to make the effort to talk to someone, even if it seems tough.”

From all at Real Talks, we would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the school for the incredible work they are doing to place student wellbeing as an absolute core value. Keep up all the great work and best wishes to all students with the Leaving Cert and beyond! change


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