On Wednesday 14th October, Simon Tierney (of Newstalk and Communications Officer with OCD Ireland) spoke to the Amber Flag team on the topic of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and Mental Well-being. As part of his tour of Ireland Simon hopes to create a national dialogue which is open and reflective. Students listened attentively and asked exploring questions in the demonstration room. The quality of focus and questions highlighted the group’s interest in mental health and their openness in discussing matters relating to mental health.
Afterwards Simon planted a tree at the front of Nenagh College as a memento of his visit and as a more permanent reminder of the condition that causes so much disruption in the lives of those afflicted by it. We are very grateful to Simon for sharing his own experiences of OCD with us in his efforts to ensure that mental well-being is a topic for open discussion, especially in Nenagh College. Plant a tree for OCD aims to raise awareness of the mental health illness. Simon’s message is simple – ‘I found myself in the abyss and I came out again, I got better, and now I lead a normal, healthy life’. All this came about as a result of the help of talk therapy and cognitive behavioural therapy, Simon was able to learn how to deal with the illness. OCD affects 1-2% of the population and this tree represents solidity, stability, shelter and growth. OCD Ireland offers information and support.
Simon was invited to launch Nenagh College’s Amber Flag, which we are very proud to have received as a result of our efforts in creating events, workshops, discussions and talks for our students throughout last year. Students got involved in the Cycle Against Suicide event, the lunch-time social club, the Darkness into Light Walk in Killaloe, a 6 week fitness challenge, dramas on mental health, friendship events, anti-bullying awareness activities, leadership programmes, publications, community projects and much more. The team got to work early in the year, which culminated in Alan Quinlan presenting Ms. O’Keeffe and a representative group with the Amber Flag in Cork. The Amber flag is about promoting positive mental health, about developing strategies for dealing with the stresses of life. The main message of the day is to become aware of one-self, to be grateful for all that we have, to eat healthy, to drink more water, to get daily exercise, to talk, to connect, to relax and get involved in meditation and mindfulness. The College has an information notice board where it promotes websites like aware.ie, spunout, reachout.com and the all-important one headspace – which has the meditation app which Bressie promotes in his school talks. Regardless how you feel right now, it too will pass.
Ms. O’Keeffe would like to acknowledge and thank Mr. Kennedy, Ms. Melley and all the staff for their support with positive mental health. She would also like to welcome all new members including the support of two new teachers – Ms. Quigley and Ms. Murphy to our Amber Flag team 2015-2016.
Mr Simon Tierney (OCD Ireland) launching the Amber Flag at Nenagh College with School Principal Mr. Kennedy, Staff Members including Ms. O’Keeffe, Ms. Madden Murphy, Ms. Quigley and students who are members of the amber flag team
Students who are members of the Amber Flag Team are as follows:
Janina Kennedy, Kieran O Connor, Sandra Boland, John Hogan, Denise Cullagh, Aisling Cummins, Emma Carey, Nathan Gleeson, Jade Fahy, Sarah Slattery, James Sheary, Kayleigh Searson