125 Transition Year (TY) students across Ireland graduated as a mental health ambassador during a special online ceremony held to celebrate the class of our 2021/2022 TY Programme.Learn more about the programme
Here at Walk in My Shoes (WIMS), for over ten years we have run a TY programme inviting students from across Ireland to take part in a week-long placement. The programme runs five times during the academic year between October and March, with 20 to 25 students per programme.
Following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, we adapted the programme for an online format. It has been delivered digitally, with interactive sessions designed to give students a comprehensive and engaging experience. During their placements, students receive firsthand insight into how a mental healthcare service operates and the experiences of people with mental health difficulties. They meet mental health experts and clinicians from St Patrick’s Mental Health Services (SPMHS); hear from people who have gone through mental health recovery; and discuss mental health stigma and ways to tackle it.
The TY Programme also provides students with a chance to learn about career pathways in mental health and the various opportunities for a career in the mental health sector.
The programme is hosted by the adolescent mental health team and staff at SPMHS, who deliver approximately 20 sessions to students across the week. In the 2021/22 programme, the participants undertook a range of activities, which included viewing a mock multidisciplinary team meeting with psychiatrists, psychologists, occupational therapists, nurses and social workers; taking part in sessions with pharmacists, the medical director and the Chief Executive Officer of SPMHS; and participating in group presentations.
Throughout the week, students build their mental health awareness and leave the programme empowered to act as mental health ambassadors in both their schools and local communities.
To celebrate their completion of the programme, students were joined in an online graduation ceremony by WIMS Ambassador and ultramarathon runner, Conor O’Keeffe, who said:
“As someone who has experienced mental health difficulties for many years from my late teens and in to my 20s, I know the importance of raising awareness around mental health and reaching out for help when needed, especially among young people. The TY Programme is an amazing initiative for students to learn about so many aspects of mental health; from mental healthcare to tackling stigma. Congratulations to all of the participants in this year’s TY Programme; it is so encouraging to see a new group of young people that can act as advocates for mental health.”
Amanda McArdle, our Campaign Manager, said:
“The TY Programme gives students a fantastic opportunity to learn from clinical staff at SPMHS about what it’s like to work in mental healthcare, while also giving them insight into the experiences of those with mental health difficulties. Each programme aims to empower students with the tools to go out and promote positive mental health and wellbeing among their peers and community. It is a privilege to see the energy and enthusiasm that students bring to learning about mental health.”
To date, over 1,000 students have completed the TY Programme.