On 18 January members of the Manor House Smile Committee attended the annual Cycle Against Suicide Student Leaders' Congress. This year the event was held in the University of Limerick. The day began at 6.45am when 50 sleepy students got on the bus in Raheny, excited at what the day would bring. Three hours later we arrived and immediately could sense the positive energy all around.
The Congress was put on by the 14 Student Leaders for 'Cycle Against Suicide', one of whom was our very own Emma Ormonde (5th year). Throughout the day the schools (including Manor House) showcased their projects - the work that they had done this year to help break the stigma surrounding mental health. The theme this year was "Share the Journey" so there was a huge emphasis on this. Speakers included the hilarious Bob Carley, the Ironman champion Jerry Duffy and psychologist Eddie Murphy, who all spoke inspiring words. Personal stories were shared, all of which were very moving. Two key messages that emerged were to truly be yourself and to talk to someone about your mental health.
Organisations such as "Teenline", "Samaritans" and "Childline" had stalls there to promote support. There was music too from The Strypes, Orla Gartland and more. We danced, we laughed, we felt so many emotions. It was an amazing opportunity and we hope to bring what we learned back to our school.
by Ruth Colbert (5th year)