Walk in My Shoes works to promote positive mental health, to tackle mental health stigma, and to change how people, particularly young people, think about mental health. Throughout the year, we run or offer the following campaigns and initiatives.
For the last number of years, we have run a week-long, pop-up radio station, WIMS FM, during the week leading up to World Mental Health Day on 10 October, broadcasting over 70 hours of diverse programming from a studio in St Patrick’s University Hospital.
It’s always been a very positive, uplifting week which raises awareness of and reduces stigma around mental health, and we have been very lucky to receive incredible support from so many people across the arts, media and culture communities – from Eoghan McDermott, Bláthnaid Treacy and Alison Spittle to Tara Flynn, Jenny Greene, James Patrice and many more - as well as from schools and educators across the country.
This year, with everyone’s health and safety in mind during the COVID-19 outbreak, we are moving from the WIMS FM studio to WIMS Live, an online programme of interactive broadcasts and activities across the week of 5-10 October to once again celebrate World Mental Health Day.
We’ll be bringing the usual eclectic mix of presenters and programmes (and, of course, the feel-good factor!) across a variety of channels, from livestreams and online events with special guests and mental health ambassadors to podcasts and social media takeovers. There will be interactive school sessions across the week where teachers and students can get involved. Stay tuned for more information….
We’re hoping the week of WIMS Live will bring people together after what has been a challenging time for everyone and shine a light on the things we can all do to look after ourselves and each other.
Mission Possible school achievement awards
Mission Possible is our school achievement awards programme, dedicated to celebrating and acknowledging the work schools do to promote positive mental health, both in the classroom and in the wider community. Through the initiative, we recognise schools from all over Ireland for their efforts and contribution in tackling the stigma surrounding mental health.
Our 2020 awards saw six schools winning prizes across our three new categories: Best Standalone Project, Best Programme Activity, and the Most Creative Idea. You can see the winning schools and programmes here.
Mission Possible 2021 will open for applications next January.
Frame of Mind short film competition
Our Frame of Mind short film competition aims to improve awareness of mental health and to reduce stigma associated with mental health difficulties through film-making. Entrants are invited to submit short films of between two and three minutes length in either a ‘Secondary School’ or ‘General’ category.
The awards cermemony for the 2019/20 Frame of Mind competition took place last January. On the night, Fergus Keane took home first place in the General category with his film Stereo Self-Talk, while Niamh O’Connor’s Two-Faced was named as runner-up. In the Secondary School category, Loreto College Crumlin scooped the top prize with Rise Up, and Templeogue College came in as runners-up with With You in a Heartbeat.
The winners were selected by judges Tom Maher, Director of Services at St Patrick's Mental Health Services (SPMHS); Sean Fitzpatrick of SPMHS’ Service User and Supporter’s Council; Michael Doherty, RTÉ Guide Film Editor; and actor Jordanne Jones.
Marking its fifth year in 2020, we run #MindYourSelfie Day to encourage as many people as possible to see and use the #MindYourSelfie hashtag to raise awareness and start conversations about the importance of looking after our mental health.
The day also coincides with the launch of a new resource to promote and teach positive mental health among young people. 2020, for example, marked the release of new classroom presentations by child and adolescent psychotherapist, Dr Colman Noctor. These presentations, with primary and secondary school versions, are available for teachers to download and use, offering meaningful and practical ways that young people can look after their wellbeing. Topics covered include everything from building resilience and valuing our sense of self-worth, to understanding the relationships we have with ourselves and dealing with comparison culture.
Transition Year Programme
Every year, 100 students from across Ireland take part in our Transition Year (TY) Programme, which aims to provide mental health education through week-long placements with SPMHS staff and clinicians. Participating students return to their schools as mental health ambassadors.
Our next TY Programme takes place across five weeks in the 2020/21 academic year. Following the outbreak of COVID-19, and with everyone’s safety in mind, we will run the upcoming programme online so that students can complete it remotely by attending a diverse timetable of virtual sessions throughout their dedicated week.
Throughout the year, we offer training opportunities designed to empower teachers and school staff working with children and young people to develop greater understanding of mental health.
Children and young people spend up to one third of their childhood in school and so their experience there can have a major impact on their mental health. We want to continue to support schools to develop greater understanding and awareness about mental health and wellbeing so that children and young people can go on to live mentally healthy lives and have fulfilling childhoods.
We host regular mental health information days for teachers and other school staff who work with children and young people. These full days of training cover a broad range of topics related to mental health in the classroom and are designed with teachers and those who work with children specifically in mind.