Real Talks with Connect Mental Health, Donegal

Monday, October 24, 2016

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92% of the 510 students better understood the importance of managing their mental health

93% were more aware of the little things that can help to develop resilience

We recently had real talks with students of Abbey Vocational School, Donegal Town, Colaiste Colmcille, Ballsyhannon and Magh Ene College Bundoran thanks to the wonderful Connect Mental Health initiative that runs in Co. Donegal.

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 manager their own mental health, look out for others, and have meaningful conversations about wellbeing.

92% of the 510 students surveyed admitted they better understood the importance of managing their own individual mental health, while 93% felt they were more aware of the little things they could do to build their own resilience. An impressive 96% 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 = 94%
  • I would be more willing to open up and have a meaningful conversation with others = 87%
  • 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 = 93%
  • I have a better understanding of how to be a better listener = 89%
  • The real talk session helped to reduce any stigma that I had towards mental health = 85%
  • 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 = 90%
  • After today’s real talk, I believe that having meaningful conversations can help me live a happier, healthier and more successful life = 96%

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.

“One conversation at a time can help you get to a better place.”

“I now know that I should not be ashamed to talk about my mental health.”

“To listen and to really listen. It is important to be there in the moment.”

“That 4/4 of us have mental health and we all need to look after ourselves.”

“To remember to do the little things because they can all add up and help.”

“Definitely to talk to people about problems because it will make them feel better.”

“Not to bottle up your emotions, feelings, and thoughts – especially when you feel sad about something.”

From all at Real Talks, we would like to take this opportunity to congratulate all three school and Connect Mental Health for the incredible work they are doing within schools to place student wellbeing as an absolute core value. Keep up the great work all and best wishes for the future.


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