It's Your Right: Graham Nelligan (17) - Teen Issues and YAP

Jun 23, 2014, 10:30 AM, Ireland

Graham Nelligan (17) has been involved with Jigsaw and the Youth Advisory Panel since he finished Transition Year in Mercy Mounthawk Secondary School in Tralee. He became really involved in the YSI (Young Social Innovators) programme in Transition Year, and had a longing to continue that project based work for the community when it was finished. The YAP was a perfect match for him.

He has been good friends with Joe Crosbie, another YAP member, since they were younger. They bonded over their shared interests in many different sports, and Graham introduced Joe to the YAP and to Jigsaw Kerry.

Graham hopes that in the future, Jigsaw will become "not just a name known by a few people, that it’s known by everyone. That people know that it’s here to help."

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:

Accompanying Music: 'Sam' by Michael Gallen, Mark Gavin and Robert Hope © West Pole Music and Management Ltd.

Below is a transcript of Graham's story.

00:00 Music.

Graham Nelligan; My name is Graham Nelligan, I’m 17 and I’m from Tralee. I’ve played every single sport in my life possible from golf and snooker to football and soccer and even cricket and hurling, even martial arts. 00:30 Graham; The Youth Advisory Panel, we promote mental health through doing projects just to tell young people where Jigsaw is and what it’s about. I got involved...I did 4th year and I liked the Young Social Innovators, the YSI, doing different projects and having responsibility and doing stuff and when 4th Yr ended, I kind of wanted to continue it on. So then I saw Jigsaw and I thought it was cool cos basically it’s the same thing, doing projects to promote stuff and helping people with different stuff. 01:00 Graham; So I came since I wanted to continue on that kinda stuff. When I joined Jigsaw, I immediately became friends with everyone cos everyone’s so nice. In crowds I was quite quiet, but coming here and doing stuff here, I’ve come out and talking to people way easier and doing different stuff which helped me a lot with confidence. People don’t talk about mental health that much, cos everyone has it, everyone has mental health but no one talks about it. 01:30 Graham; It’s a problem amongst everyone really. There’s a lot of stress and problems among teens cos of exams, friends pressuring each other and getting jobs and that’s stressful cos there’s not many around nowadays. With Jigsaw, they’d know where to come and to talk about it. Few years ago, Jigsaw was unknown, no one knew about it and I think through projects like this you are spreading awareness of telling people, it’s here and telling the...

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