It's Your Right: Albha Foley (19) - Healthy Body, Healthy Mind

Jun 23, 2014, 11:00 AM

Albha Foley (19) is a recent addition to the Youth Advisory Panel. After just finishing his Leaving Certificate, Albha decided to taking a year out to immerse himself in some volunteer work and think about what he wants to do with his future. Albha admires the work that Jigsaw and the YAP do, and took this year as an opportunity to volunteer with them.

Albha believes that a healthy body equals a healthy mind, and so during his gap year, he has taken an interest into sports and recreation. Another passion of Albha's is cooking, and he had previously dreamed of being a chef. Unfortunately, an accident left him with a serious arm injury and unable to cook for a number of years making his dream of becoming a chef seem less likely. But thankfully during his gap year, with dedicated physiotherapy, he has started again, and cooks every day for his family.

The most important thing to Albha is that he is happy with whatever he decides to do in the future, whether that be to continue with social/community work, sports, or hopefully one day more cooking.

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: 'Progression' by Michael Gallen © West Pole Music and Management Ltd.

See below for transcript of Albha's story.

00:00 Music.

My name is Albha Foley, I’m 19 and I live in Blennerville. I just finished my Leaving Cert last year and I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do in college. I didn’t wanna rush into it cos a lot of people I know rushed into it and made the wrong choice saying it’s a lot of money and effort to be putting into something you don’t want to do. So I took a gap year to figure out what I want to do in college or as a career. 00:30 Albha; One of things I did was volunteer and work experience to try and get a feel for different careers. Basically YAP meets every 2 weeks or a week if there’s a lot of work needed, and we just try and raise awareness about mental health. We’re just out there making ourselves known that we’re here to get people to talk about their problems so it doesn’t get to a serious point, you know, if problems are talked about sooner, they can be resolved sooner. If the message wasn’t spread about mental health, there’d be a lot more, you know, problems 01:00 Albha; . But I think the numbers have come down and I think it is due to a lot of the work that Jigsaw and Headstrong do like, youth and community work in schools and awareness campaigns. As a young person, you want to make sure other young people are in a good state of mind and they’re enjoying their lives. So it’s kinda our responsibility to help others, especially if you’ve been throu...