Planet Youth Cavan Monaghan Launch
On Friday 3rd June, Planet Youth Cavan Monaghan was officially launched at the Garage Theatre, Monaghan.
Building on the work of colleagues in the Western Region (Galway, Mayo & Roscommon) who introduced Planet Youth to Ireland in 2018, the Cavan Monaghan Implementation Group introduced Planet Youth into both counties, following a successful ethical approval collaboration in 2020 with The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI).
Some 1,800 post Junior-Cycle students across every second level school and Youthreach Centre throughout Cavan and Monaghan were invited to participate in the Planet Youth Survey and the results contained within these county reports are the first of their kind in both counties. Planet Youth is an international evidence-based primary prevention model, developed by the Icelandic Centre for Social Research and Analysis (ICSRA) at Reykjavik University. It was initially developed in order to reduce substance use rates amongst young people. The model uses a whole population approach and offers the opportunity to improve health and life outcomes for young people in many areas. It works by directly targeting the risk and protective factors that determine their substance use behaviours and enhancing the social environment they are growing up in. By reducing the known risk factors and strengthening the known protective factors the problems associated with adolescent substance use can be reduced or stopped before they arise. The Planet Youth (Interagency) Implementation group has initiated the project’s needs led, bottom-up approach that will see data collated directly from young people, providing us with information on the lives and lifestyle of our young people.
Our mission is to lead a process of transformative change by embedding primary prevention approaches which enhance young people’s health, relationships, environment and wellbeing. While public bodies and non-profit organisations in Cavan and Monaghan are already working together to improve outcomes for young people, evidenced-based prevention needs greater priority. The Planet Youth Data provides an opportunity for all stakeholders to hear and learn directly from our young people about what it is like to grow up as a young person in County Cavan and County Monaghan and this will support our organisations to become more alert to current trends/issues and encourage a responsiveness in the way they think about prevention and their role in it. Agencies and organisations – big and small – can use the data results as a tool which will enable them to consider what they can do within their remit, either directly or indirectly. This includes reassessing their activities with a view to minimising risk factors and maximising protective factors. While stakeholders will approach Planet Youth in different ways, ultimately the shared objective is to achieve better outcomes for young people. Prevention activities are more likely to succeed when they are systematic, evidence-based and collaborative. While the need for prevention is increasingly recognised, it often occurs in an ad hoc manner. Planet Youth urges all stakeholders – from national and local government to public bodies, schools and community-based organisations – to play their part in prioritising prevention in an integrated and holistic way.
For Planet Youth Cavan and Monaghan there has been significant collaboration in the local community to get the project off the ground with partner agencies coming together to deliver the initiative including: Cavan and Monaghan Education and Training Board (CMETB), Cavan County Council, Monaghan County Council, Cavan County Local Development, Monaghan Integrated Development, Tulsa Cavan & Monaghan, Cavan and Monaghan Children and Young People Services Committees, Youthwork Ireland Cavan & Monaghan and North Eastern Drug Task Force
There was an array of representatives who spoke at the launch event – Páll Melsted Ríkharðsson PHD, Chief Executive of Planet Youth gave an insight on the International development and growth of the Planet Youth Model, whilst Dr. Emmet Power, RCSI Research Partner provided an overview of the research findings on alcohol, mental health and effects of screen time on young people.
Mr. Raymond Mc Hugh, Principal, St. Macartans Secondary School, Berni Duffy, Carrickmacross Youthreach and Students Xuan Zheng Chew, Jakub Kurek and Perfect Ovurhievwe, shared their experience of taking part in the Planet Youth project.
Parent Champion Sandra Crawley gave a parent’s perspective on why its important to talk and listen to your young people
Minister Heather Humphreys T.D. Minister for Rural and Community Development and Minister for Social Protection, spoke of her passion for protecting young people of Cavan and Monaghan and the importance of giving young people a voice in the issues that are important to them. Heather commended the Planet Youth implementation team and partners for their collaborative work on the project in delivering a community led approach.
She then officially launched the project and presented a virtual message of welcome and support from Taoiseach Micheál Martin.