122 Transition Year (TY) students have graduated from our 2022/23 TY Programme as advocates for mental health.
At Walk in My Shoes (WIMS), we recently celebrated with all the TY students and their families, during a special online ceremony for the class of 2022/23.
We have been running our TY Programme for over 12 years, with week-long placements for 20 to 25 students available five times during the academic year between October and March. The programme is hosted by the adolescent mental health team and staff at St Patrick’s Mental Health Services (SPMHS), who deliver approximately 20 sessions to students across the week.
To date, over 1,100 students have completed the TY Programme.
Students receive first-hand insight into how a mental healthcare service operates and the lived experience of mental health. They meet mental health experts and clinicians; hear from people who have gone through mental health difficulties and recovery; and discuss mental health stigma and ways to tackle it.
In 2022/23, the programme took place in a hybrid format. Students began their week with a day spent onsite at St Patrick’s University Hospital campus, and then attended the remainder of the week’s sessions online.
Students undertook a range of activities which included viewing a mock multidisciplinary team meeting with psychiatrists, psychologists, occupational therapists, pharmacists, nurses and social workers; taking part in sessions with the Medical Director and the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of SPMHS; and participating in group presentations. Students were also given the opportunity to contribute to design concepts for a large-scale mental health promotion project that is currently being progressed by SPMHS.
To celebrate their completion of the programme, students were joined in an online graduation ceremony by CEO of SPMHS, Paul Gilligan, who said: “Congratulations to the 122 students who completed the TY Programme this year and returned to their schools and communities as ambassadors for mental health."
“Transition Year can offer wonderful learning experiences for young people, but it can often also be a challenging time for students as they prepare to start into their final years at school and consider future career choices. Through our TY Programme we offer students the opportunity to get a real sense of what it’s like to work in mental healthcare, to learn about career pathways and the various opportunities for a career in this sector, while also building mental health awareness and skills.”
“It is fantastic to see so many young people benefit from this programme by exploring a future career in mental healthcare and embracing mental health awareness.”
Jeremy Clarke, TY Coordinator in Kilkenny College said: “The WIMS TY programme is a wonderful, blended learning programme that has had a remarkable and positive effect on the college course choices of the students who I was lucky enough to accept a place for. It gives students a wonderful opportunity to build their mental health awareness and to develop the tools to act as mental health ambassadors in both their schools and local communities. It is encouraging to see young people learn about the importance of positive mental health. Long may it continue!”