Strabane’s Youth create ‘positively mental’ Murals for World Mental Health Day

Several adults and school children stand alonside murals.
The mental health murals created by pupils at Holy Cross College, before they were mounted across Strabane. Back row L-R: Dominic Bonner, Youth Action NI, Jeanette McCrory, Head of Art, Marie Forbes, art teacher, William McAteer and Ivan Barr, Melmount Community Forum. Front row L-R: Rebecca Logue, NIHE patch manager, Holy Cross College pupils Joshua Kingh, Corin Kelly-Herron, Colt McCay, Jake McAnenny, Caleb Kingh, NIHE’s Eddie Breslin, Good Relations Officer and Rachael Leitch, patch manager

Housing Executive funding has enabled young people in Strabane to complete a six week positive mural programme, producing four murals to mark World Mental Health day (Sunday, 10 October 2021).

Melmount Community Forum, in conjunction with Youth Action, approached the Housing Executive for Community Cohesion funding to carry out the programme.

When contacted for ideas on how they could contribute to their local community, the young people specifically requested to focus on mental health.

The six week youth art programme encouraged young people to discuss the negative effects of graffiti in their community.  

They also had the opportunity to discuss positive behavior and talk about mental health issues together, to help create a more welcoming community.  From this they created the murals that are now proudly on display around Strabane.

Ivan Barr, Development Officer at Melmount Community Forum, is really pleased at how the young people stepped up.  He said:

“The last 18 months or so have been challenging for everyone, particularly our young people.

“Being able to complete this art programme has given the young people a real constructive channel to express themselves, and show that they care about everyone.

“Melmount forum would like to thank the Housing Executive for their support and also Holy Cross College for supporting the young people to launch their art work.”

Housing Executive Patch Manager, Rachael Leitch, was with the young people who created the murals to congratulate them before they were mounted in separate areas across the town.  She said:

“Our young people have a lot to say and can sometimes be misunderstood.  

“Many young people in the area could ultimately be future tenants of ours, and it’s important we take time to build a relationship with them and discuss their views from an early stage.

“The murals they’ve created are a boost to the local areas and shows the power of positivity, especially poignant as we mark World Mental Health Day this year.”

The youth murals can be viewed in our Greater Ballycolman, Urney Road and Lisnafin Trust Residents Association (ULTRA), Springhill and Mount Carmel Heights Community Association (SMCCA) and Lifford Road areas of Strabane.

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