It's Your Right: Eimear O'Connor (22) - Mental Health and YAP

Jun 19, 2014, 01:07 PM

Eimear O'Connor (22) has been involved with Jigsaw and the Youth Advisory Panel since 2008, when she introduced to the project by a member of Jigsaw speaking at a community drama she was a part of. Eimear has had previous experiences with mental health in her life and feels that being a part of the YAP has increased her awareness and given her insight into the topic.

She is currently studying social science in UCC, and has even taken up a mental health module this year. She is extremely passionate about it, and hopes that her contribution, and the work of Jigsaw can remove any stigma there may be around the area of mental health.

Accompanying Music: 'Light on Light off' by Ana Gog

Jigsaw is a network of programmes across Ireland designed to make sure every young person has somewhere to turn to and someone to talk to. They provide confidental support to young people in their local area.

The Youth Advisory Panel is a group of dedicated young people who advise Jigsaw on the opinions and issues of young people, as well as helping the organisation raise awareness of mental health.

Headstrong is the National Centre for Youth Mental Health - a non-profit organisation supporting young people's mental health in Ireland.

Listen to Joseph Duffy, CEO of Headstrong, on 10 years of the Ombudsman for Children's Office and what it means for an organisation like Headstrong.

For more information on Children's Rights and the 'Its Your Right' campaign, visit the Its Your Right website:

Below is a transcript of Eimear's story.

00:00 Music.

Eimear O’ Connor; I’m Eimear O’ Connor, I’m 22 years old and I’m from Tralee. Born and bred in Tralee, I went to school here, my families here. I’m currently a student in Social Science in UCC. I got involved in the YAP originally when I was in Transition Year, so that would’ve been 2008. The reasons for it was because of the fact that there’s a lot of issues of mental health in my own family and 00:30 Eimear; and I would’ve seen it in my school and stuff like that aswell so I just felt really strongly about it as an area that did to be worked on and I wanted to help it. I hope that Jigsaw continues on and gets more young people involved, gets more people talking about it that will completely, almost completely remove the stigma that is around the area of mental health. Like, I’ve gotten really, really passionate about it, like I studied mental health this year as part of my course as well. 01:00 Eimear; and I think it’s had a positive effect on my own mind and my own self esteem and stuff like that, I think it’s built it up. I think...I don’t really know how to put it into words but it does make me feel a lot better about the issues in my family and myself and things like that. I do find that there is a responsibility to get my voice out there and speak about these issues cos there’s a huge amount of stigma around the areas of mental health 01:30 Eimear; I just felt that if I don’t start talking about it, who else is going to? And if we start talking in public, the government will kinda feel a responsibility to take that on and to change policies and practice with in the area of mental health, especially with young people. 01:55 ENDS.