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Second Level Schools Service: Students Advised to Relax, Be Kind and Talk to Someone

Minister Leo Varadkar talks to Canon Charles Mullen, Andrew Forrest and Dr Ken Fennelly in St Patrick’s Cathedral which was full to capacity with students for the Second Level Schools Service.
Minister Leo Varadkar talks to Canon Charles Mullen, Andrew Forrest and Dr Ken Fennelly in St Patrick’s Cathedral which was full to capacity with students for the Second Level Schools Service.

More than 500 students of from all over the Republic of Ireland filled St Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin, yesterday (Thursday September 22) for the General Synod Board of Education (RI) Second Level Schools’ Service.

The Service of Choral Evensong marks the beginning of the academic year and representatives of Church of Ireland and Protestant second level schools were in attendance. The Archbishop of Dublin presided and the State was represented by the Minister for Social Protection, Dr Leo Varadkar.

The address was given by Dr Tony Bates, CEO of Jigsaw, an organisation focused on young people’s mental health. He talked to the packed cathedral about how to deal with life’s ups and downs. He said mental health was a confusing term but explained that real mental health was about facing whatever difficulties life brings and feeling great.

“When we find the courage and support to face our difficulties we begin to feel more real and true and human and able to relate to one another. The issues can feel like a mountain. A mountain can look very high but if you take a step up that mountain then it becomes one step lower,” he said.

Dr Bates gave the students four pieces of advice. He told them to relax and be just the way they are; to trust that they have the strength to face their difficulties and that they may just need time and support to sort them out; to practice kindness with each other; and to talk to someone. He stressed the importance of finding one good adult to talk to whether it be their parents, an older sibling or a teacher.

“Once you say to someone that you’re not having a good time at the moment, things get easier … Know that life is going to through you a curved ball and there will be dark spots. Don’t be afraid and don’t be alone. Relax, be kind and talk to someone,” he concluded.

Contact Details

Dr Ken Fennelly

Secretary, Board of Education (Republic of Ireland)
Church of Ireland House
Church Avenue
Rathmines
Dublin 6
D06 CF67
+353 (0)1 4125 609

ken.fennelly@rcbdub.org

Dr Peter Hamill

Secretary, Board of Education (Northern Ireland)
Church of Ireland House
61–67 Donegall Street
Belfast
BTI 2QH
+44 (0)28 9082 8860

edunorth@ireland.anglican.org