Teen Mental Health, Students, Personal stories

19 January, 2021

“I now have the tools to advocate for mental health”| Student experience of our TY Programme

Mental health awareness placement

Mental health awareness placement

Image of Freya Feeney who took part in our TY ProgrammeTransition Year (TY) student Freya Feeney took part in our 2020/21 TY Programme, which is a one-week mental health awareness placement, conducted by clinical staff from St Patrick’s Mental Health Services (SPMHS).

For the first time, the current programme is running online to best protect everyone’s safety in light of COVID-19, with 25 students completing virtual sessions remotely in each week of the programme. Here, Freya shares her experience of taking part.

Not knowing what to expect

Not knowing what to expect

In November 2020, I was lucky enough to participate in the Walk in My Shoes (WIMS) TY Programme. When I first applied, there were no spaces left, so, when I got a cancellation place, I was delighted, especially considering the scarceness of work experiences and TY trips during the pandemic. Apart from that, I didn’t know what exactly to expect, but it all became clear when our information pack email arrived.

Our timetable was full to the brim with all sorts of interesting sessions. Every session was unique and showed us a different perspective, which meant, in the end, we left with a broad range of knowledge and understanding.

We got an insight into all aspects of SPMHS and the different career opportunities available: from Dean Swift’s unique vision in the eighteenth century all the way to the creation of virtual clinics in the midst of COVID-19.

New understandings of mental health

New understandings of mental health

If you are interested in the general area of mental health, but you’re not exactly sure what path you want to take, this is the programme for you.

If I was asked before what a multidisciplinary team (MDT) was, for example, I couldn’t have told you, but now I understand the responsibilities of everyone on the MDT from the the psychiatrist to the occupational therapist to the pharmacist, thanks to the brilliant mock MDT meeting we watched (with real clinicians and famous actors too!).

As well as getting to know about SPMHS itself, we learnt about other aspects of mental health that I had never even considered, such as learning about the phenomenal devotion of young carers and discovering the link between human rights and mental health.

Tools for compassion and advocacy

Tools for compassion and advocacy

Having completed the programme, I am confident that, if a friend ever confides in me about their mental health struggles, I will be a better friend and a more compassionate listener, while also making sure they get the right help and support they need.

And it wasn’t all hard work! Midweek, we broke into small groups, which gave us the chance to connect with other students from all around Ireland having the same very unusual TY experience.

I am so grateful that I got the chance to do the WIMS TY Programme and now have the tools to advocate for mental health in my own community.

Continue to…

“It is about learning for life” | A teacher’s view of the role of education