Six people, including vulnerable young teens and children, suffering with their mental health were put directly in to counselling services during Talk To Tom’s Headspace Event in Gorey over the weekend.
The event, held to launch the charities new Youth Website, headspacegorey.ie, - aimed at connecting young people aged from 12 and up with services in their area, was attended by hundreds of people on Saturday.
During the 24-hour event, hosted by Niall Kennedy at Gorey Boxing Club, a number of people presented looking for help or guidance for themselves or a loved one.
A person under 12-years old who has been on a CAMHS waiting list for over 30-weeks was facilitated with an appointment for this week with one of Talk To Tom’s expert qualified and accredited Child and Adolescent Psychotherapists.
A number of other teenagers and adults were also provided with appointments for counselling services.
Talk To Tom CEO Ray Cullen said these interactions alone made the event a huge success.
“Our aim for this was to raise awareness,” he said. “We never imagined to have so many people walk through the doors over the 24-hour period who were either looking for help for themselves or for a friend or loved one.
“To be able to make these interventions shows the need for our services in the town and further a field,” he added.
”Six may not sound like an awful lot of people - but in relation to this topic it is massive. Imagine the bravery involved in walking in and asking for help. These people should be commended.
“Just in this aspect alone the event was a giant and unprecedented success.
“Aside from the six people seeking immediate help we also offered help and advise to an additional 20-people who were worried about someone they cared about.
“We also received over 80-phone calls, and social media messages seeking help and advice over the weekend.
”Thanks must go to Niall Kennedy, there’s no doubt his bravery in speaking openly about his struggles with bi-polar disorder encouraged people to speak out.“
The Headspace event saw a workshop take place on the hour every hour from 9am on Saturday morning until 1am on Sunday.
Gorey Goal machine Conor McDonald delivered an insightful speech warning those in attendance of the dangers social media can pose to some during the second workshop of the day.
“Just because you see something on social media doesn’t necessarily mean it’s true,” he said, warning people not to fall to the pressures that social media may place on them.
Wexford GAA’s Anthony Masterson also delivered a brave, honest and emotional talk to the young people in attendance, highlighting some of the past issues he has faced with gambling addiction.
“My addiction led me down some very dark paths,” said the former Wexford Goalkeeper.
“There was a point in my life where my addiction consumed me, it was almost all I cared about. I nearly lost it all.
“There were points where I was so low that I genuinely had thoughts of suicide,” he added.
“But I am so thankful that I had a good family around me and good friends and the best thing I ever did was ask for help.
“No matter what you are struggling with please seek help,” he added, “you don’t have to suffer in silence there is help there. Getting help is the best thing I ever did.”
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu expert Richie Ivory encouraged the gathered crowd to follow the Headspace message of ‘Fill Your Mind With Things You Love,’ to improve your physical and emotional wellbeing.
“Finding Jiu Jitsu has helped improve every facet of my life, “ said the champion MMA fighter.
“It has brought balance into my life - and even taught me how to control my anger and be more of a critical thinker.”
Declan Gilmore of NN Sport Nutrition schooled his audience on the importance of seasonal and organic produce and on how vital limiting screen time is before bed for getting a good nights sleep.
Other speakers and workshops on the day included: Caoimhe Molloy - Leinster rugby, Eoin & Gary Molloy- Hurling , Vicki Leigh - Yoga , Pound with Ais - Drum inspired cardio workout, Art workshop with Dympna Nolan , Creagh Studios , Guitar and Ukulele Workshop, Boxing workshop - Niall Kennedy, Strength & Conditioning - Matthew Dunbar Pace, Ladies Football - Amy Wilson & Cailin Fitzpatrick and Wellness and Recovery with InnerSmile.
Speaking at the event organiser Niall Kennedy said he was delighted that people felt comfortable enough to come in and ask for help.
“For me personally this event has been a massive success. There are now six people who are on the road to feeling better because of the kindness of everyone who took part.
“I can’t thank our speakers enough for giving up their time to help us and Talk To Tom. They are a local charity and I have seen first hand now the work that they do for the people of Gorey.
“In the past I have referred my friends to them and they were all treated with great kindness. Some of them after the passing of another good friend Colin ‘Jango’ Flemming when they were struggling to deal with the loss,” added the heavyweight boxer.
“I have seen the good Talk To Tom do in Gorey and they sometimes go under the radar. They deserve our support as a local organisation, all of the money that comes in actually goes on services and not on things like wages,” added the champion fighter.
“I fully believe that this new initiative, that I am proud to be involved with, will save lives.”
A fundraising event 'The Fight Against Suicide' which would see people stand with those battling depression by battling punching bags was postponed to the early hours of Sunday Morning due to sound issues with the workshops taking place.
A large number of people gave up their Saturday night to tackle the bags raising over €2500 for Talk To Tom counselling services.
Talk To Tom Chairperson Trudi Sinnott thanked Gorey Boxing Club and Gorey Community School for their help and support in the new programme.
“It is fantastic to have Gorey Community School involved in this project,” said Ms Sinnott.
“We are delighted to have been invited into the school to introduce the platform to students on Feb 14. We would also like to thank Gorey Boxing Club for the use of their premises.
Ms Sinnott also thanked all who took part in and delivered workshops.
Headspace is a new youth initiative for Gorey and north Wexford - it will be a a resource where young people can go to find out about any and all services available to them in their community.
It will be a one stop shop for everything from mental and physical health services, events, clubs, societies, careers and study guides to addiction and drug services.
It will be a valuable resourced tailored to your town, tailored to your age group, tailored to you.