New Rathcoole murals highlight mental health support
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The project was organised by Rathcoole-based community group Listening Ear.
Commenting on the initiative, Brian Kerr, Listening Ear Chairperson said: "Listening Ear’s first aim is to provide support and training to the community on mental health, suicide prevention and drug and alcohol awareness.
"These subjects impact people of all backgrounds, communities and ages. They are subjects that people are reluctant to speak about and seek support with.
“To help address these issues and to encourage children and young people to seek assistance, an evening was held to directly engage with the young people from the area. A make-up demonstration and barbering demonstration were carried out as part of the engagement event and the pizza was provided.
"Those in attendance were then asked three questions; What is impacting your mental health?, Why would you not seek help? and What would encourage you to ask for help?
"It was powerful to see the engagement from the young people. They discussed and collectively recorded their responses. These responses were handed over to Ace Spray Works NI and the two murals were designed.
"The first was based on the responses of the three questions and the second was a blackboard to allow children and young people to express themselves.
“Our hope is that when young people see the mural they know that there is someone always there for them, that they are not alone, they will not be judged and they will be listened to.”
Mr Kerr added: “I would to thank Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council for granting permission to paint the mural, Thrive Newtownabbey for supporting, Roy McGivern Chairman of Linfield Football Club, David Healey, Manager of Linfield and Northern Ireland legend for officially opening the mural and the young people for their openness and honesty. You matter to us."