Ann-Marie Gaynor is a genuinely inspiring individual. From her early experiences in childcare and Montessori education to her time at the Longford Traveller Preschool before transitioning into nursing, she has shown remarkable resilience and adaptability.
Her work with the ‘No Shame Project’ and her commitment to breaking down stigmas around mental health and barriers for the Travelling Communities is commendable. The experiences of her professional and personal background have shaped an empathetic approach to her work.
Overcoming personal and professional challenges, including discovering that she has dyslexia and ADHD and still achieving your degree in psychiatric nursing and science, is a testament to her determination, dedication and hard work.
As a Forensic Mental Health Nurse, Annemarie is uniquely positioned to make a significant impact in her new role as a National Mental Health Youth Worker.
About The New Role
Anne-Marie’s new role is to deliver a professional youth mental health programme to support young travellers aged 15 to 20 across the country. This programme aims to promote and encourage young Travellers’ voluntary participation in innovative mental health programmes and activities through the ‘No Shame‘ mental health youth project.
This will include workshops to empower the younger generation to take control of their mental health and advocate for their peers. Anne-Marie hopes that by participating in their leadership programme, “the next generation will become comfortable talking openly about mental health. The ‘No Shame’ project aims to eliminate the stigma attached to discussing mental health and promote it in the same way as physical health”.
The No Shame Board Game -A Source of Immense Pride
A group of teenagers from Trim, Co. Meath created a board game called “No Shame” to break the stigma around mental health, particularly among young people from the travelling community.
The idea behind the game came from a campaign started in 2017 by the teens, which included creating posters, a social media account, and a video which went viral. This in turn led to them building on their project and with funding from Meta for development, the creation of the board game in 2019.
The board game presents players with different scenarios, and there are positive messages as participants make their way around the board.
One of the teenagers who worked on the project, Tiffany Reaney, says “It helps you open up to people and talk to people; I think that’s the best part of it, and it’s fun as well.” Kay McCabe from the Involve Project in Meath added: “Mental health is challenging to discuss for anybody, but unfortunately, within the travelling community, suicide rates are seven times higher than they are in the settled community. “Anything we could do to break down the stigma and shame around bringing up mental health through a game and even having a little bit of fun is worthwhile.”
Mental Health Workshops
The upcoming Traveller Youth Mental Health Workshop, part of the campaign, will take place in the Longford Arms Hotel on Thursday, February 15th, 2024. It is aimed at 15 to 20-year-olds and will be highly interactive. The workshop will feature guest speakers Latisha Mc Crudden and Suzie from The Traveller Counselling Service, along with others. Workstations will be used to introduce basic coping skills for managing mental health.
Packed lunch, tea, sandwiches, and a goodie bag for everyone attending.
Tickets are Free at Eventbrite