STUDENTS from the three secondary schools in Castleisland have provided the inspiration for artist Mike O’Donnell’s stunning makeover of Kerry Mental Health Association’s Second Chance Charity Shop in the town.

Boys and girls from Presentation Secondary School, St Patrick’s Secondary School and Castleisland Community College created works of art based on the 5 Ways to Wellbeing – Connect, Be Active, Take Notice, Keep Learning and Give.

The renowned Kerry artist, Mike O’Donnell, was commissioned by Kerry Mental Health Association to create a new shop front and sign that would incorporate elements of the students’ artwork.

The Chair of Kerry Mental Health Association Castleisland & District Branch, Jennifer O’Sullivan Coffey, said: “Our wonderful shop, which is run by Kathleen Kennedy and her fellow volunteers, gives a second chance to the array of items we sell. The funds raised then allow us to help people in our community with mental health challenges and their families and carers. When we decided to give our shopfront second chance, instead of giving it a normal lick of paint, we opted for something eye-catching and relevant to what we do. We were delighted to have the input of the young artists in the three local secondary schools who provided the inspiration for Mike O’Donnell’s final masterpiece. We hope that customers and passers-by will stop and look at the message on our wall which encourages everyone to follow the 5 Ways to Wellbeing as a means of minding their mental health.”

The 5 Ways to Wellbeing are simple actions to practice each day to maintain or improve our mental health and wellbeing.

Connect: Make time each day to connect with people around you – family, friends, colleagues and neighbours, at home, work school or in your local community. By staying connected and nurturing these relationships we feel happier and more secure, giving us a better sense of purpose.

Be Active: Look for ways to be active every day. Go for a walk or a run. Step outside. Cycle, play a game, garden or dance. Discover a physical activity you enjoy which suits your lifestyle and level of mobility and fitness. Research has shown that being physically active can improve your mental health and wellbeing.

Take Notice: Be aware of the world around you and what you are feeling. Be curious. Catch sight of the beautiful. Notice the changing seasons. Savour the moment whether you are walking to work, eating lunch or talking to friends. Pay attention to the present moment – to your thoughts, feelings and to the world around you.

Keep Learning: Try something new. Rediscover an old interest. Sign up for that course. Cook a new recipe. Take on a new responsibility. Setting yourself a new challenge and learning a new skill will increase your confidence which can improve your mental health and wellbeing.

Give: Giving to others is good for you. Do something nice for someone else. Thank someone. Volunteer your time or join a community group. To see yourself and your happiness linked to the wider community can be incredibly rewarding and create connectedness with the people around you.

Kerry Mental Health Association has expressed its sincere thanks to the principals, teachers and students at Presentation Secondary School, St Patrick’s Secondary School and Castleisland Community College for taking part in this great mental health initiative.

The charity intends to engage with the schools again for a new project in 2024 with a view to promoting the mental health and wellbeing of the students and their families.

The Board and Management of Kerry Mental Health Association owes a huge debt of gratitude to Kathleen Kennedy and her team of volunteers who have made the Second Chance Charity Shop such a popular destination on the retail circuit in Castleisland.

The shop also acts as a signpost for people in the locality who may require information on how to access the mental health services in the county.

The Second Chance Charity Shop at 105 Upper Main Street, Castleisland is open Monday to Saturday from 10am to 4pm.