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Role of SHAM for your Mental Health

Young people from Limerick & Malta who took part in the SHAM youth exchange pictured at the Northside Youth Space

Young people from Limerick & Malta who took part in the SHAM youth exchange pictured at the Northside Youth Space

The importance of space in supporting a young person’s mental health was the key theme of a youth exchange programme run by Limerick Youth Service and their Maltese counterparts, Aġenzija Żgħażagħ.

Titled SHAM (Space Helps Attitude & Mental Health), the youth exchange saw teenagers from both nations explored the role that physical and personal space can have a young person’s mental wellbeing.

Throughout the week the young people took part in a number of projects and workshops in which they openly discussed ways in which they can look after their mental health and wellbeing.

The Maltese and Irish youths also enjoyed a Power of Positivity workshop with Fr. Chris O’Donnell where the spoke about things they do to chill out or ‘wind down’ with Fr. Chris saying how he catches up in his sports apps!

Finding a balance between outdoor activities, school work, spending time in a healthy relationships with family and friends and learning to enjoy some alone time, were all addressed with the young people putting these into their ‘safe space kit.’

‘The safe space kit is unique to each person and can be a list, box of items, diary or post it notes on your wall that has positive messages and tips on what to do if you are feeling down, such as listen to music, go for a walk or speak with a trusted friend,’ explained Priscilla Sheehan, LYS.

The week was very successful and when not in workshops the Limerick teens showed their Maltese friends the best of Irish hospitality and what the Midwest has to offer.

‘We had great fun at Kilfinane Outdoor Education Centre, while the shopping trips in Limerick City were also very popular,’ laughed Priscilla, youth worker with Irishtown Garda Youth Diversion Project.

Priscilla was full of praise for the young people who were ‘great ambassadors for their city and peers and made the Maltese feel very welcome.’

The next step of the SHAM project will be in 2018 with a trip to Malta on the horizon with the possibility of youth groups from other nations joining the project.

The SHAM youth exchange is an Erasmus Plus programme supported by Leargas in partnership Limerick Youth Service and Aġenzija Żgħażagħ.

Aġenzija Żgħażagħ was established in February 2011 to promote the interests of young people and to provide assistance to youth organisations and young people in achieving their potential.

A member of Youth Work Ireland, Limerick Youth Service remains committed to supporting and encouraging young people to be active participants in shaping their futures.


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