When I was at school, no one taught us about mental health.
I spent my school days in the east coast of Ireland, growing up by the sea. It sounds idyllic and in many ways it was, but as with all childhoods, there were challenges to be faced and tough lessons to be learned.
When I moved to my secondary school I struggled with learning three languages one of which was my beautiful native Gaelic tongue. I had to try extremely hard at school but it paid off and despite my language difficulties I was a high achiever.
However, just when everything was going well with the teachers, I was achieving high results, I won some awards and I even got selected for the lead in the school musical, you would think things couldn’t be better right? Wrong! – now your peers don’t like you. I had attracted too much positive attention and then the bullying started.
Bullying is insidious.
The voices and views of others can chip away at your identity if you haven’t developed a strong sense of self or have a strong support system to tell you otherwise. As children develop their sense of self through their experiences and relationships, bullying has a significant impact on esteem, behaviour and mental wellbeing.
Luckily, I had a mother who was a nurse and a sister who was a trainee psychologist and I learnt what I consider to be the most important thing we can teach our children, who and how to ask for help.
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