Wed, 29/01/2020 - 14:11
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Mayor of the County of Cork, Councillor Christopher O'Sullivan with speakers Grace O'Rourke & Graham McCormack join transotion year students in County Hall for the launch of Teen Talks

There has never been a more important time for teenagers to talk to their parents and peers was the message from the launch of Cork County Council’s award winning “Teen Talk” events for 2020.

Now in its third year, the ‘Teen Talk’ initiative provides a platform for transition year students to discuss issues affecting their health and wellbeing with each other and to hear from a fantastic line-up of speakers. The events, organised and co-ordinated by Cork County Council and funded by Healthy Ireland through the Local Community Development Committees (LCDCs), will take place in Charleville on March 26th, Little Island on March 31st and Bantry on April 2nd. The events are for open for attendance to all Transition Year (TY) Students in County Cork.

Grace O’Rourke, winner of RTE’s Special Forces Hell Week, says

“Every adult will remember how difficult it was to communicate when they were teenagers. You can now add into the mix things like social media, cyber bullying and screen-time. We need to support this digital-native generation in a way that society has never had to do before, and ‘Teen Talk’ is a great way to start that conversation.”

For the first time in its history, ‘Teen Talk’ will also host a series of “Gen Z” evening events to support parents in their efforts to better communicate with their teenagers. Speakers at these evening events will address a range of issues currently affecting teenagers.

A recent study found that the number of teenagers reporting severe anxiety has doubled from 11% to 22% in the past decade. The ‘Teen Talk’ events are held annually to promote health and wellbeing amongst transition year students, with a particular emphasis on mental health.

1,500 Transition Year students from 50 schools are expected to attend the events, which will be chaired by Virgin Media Television presenter Elaine Crowley. Amongst the speakers are;

  • Grace O’Rourke (Special Forces Hell Week Winner)
  • Gerry Hussey (Performance Psychology Consultant & Motivational Speaker)  
  • Pat Divilly (Fitness Expert & Entrepreneur) 
  • Graham McCormack (Former MMA Athlete & Mindfulness Coach).

These inspirational speakers will address the TY students on the topics of nutrition, fitness, personal wellbeing and mental health by giving accounts of their own life experiences.

A counselling service is provided at each event with information and talks available from Healthy Ireland and other local service providers.

Speaking at the launch, Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr. Christopher O’Sullivan said

“The impact of ‘Teen Talk’ has been hugely positive, educating transition year students of the importance in speaking out when they face challenges.  Many teachers have requested further follow-on events to be held. I would encourage all schools across Cork and surrounding areas to sign up for this year’s Teen Talk, and to spread the word amongst parents that they too can play a role in tackling the issues that affect their teenagers by attending the evening events. I would also like to thank the speakers for giving their time to tell their stories and show a younger generation how to deal with the challenges that life can throw up”.

Chief Executive of Cork County Council, Tim Lucey says

“The Teen Talk initiative is an excellent example of the role of Cork County Council in supporting our community. Through the work of the Council, Healthy Ireland and the LCDC, we can deliver an important message to over 1,500 teenagers, their teachers and their families. We are equally grateful for the support of external agencies such as Pieta House, the Samaritans and My Mind.”

Schools have been informed by email of their local event with registration information.