MYSTORY Photovoice Exhibition is an exhibition of photographs taken by students around the themes of mental health and youth suicide
MYSTORY Photovoice Exhibition launched at the Limerick City Gallery of Art, as part of Limerick Mental Health Week 2021
MYSTORY is a powerful photovoice exhibition led by Dr Jennifer McMahon in collaboration with Eibhlin Walsh, doctoral student, both of the Department of Psychology, University of Limerick, and John Real of Limerick Youth Service, all working with Be Well’s youth advisory panels to better understand school-based suicide prevention and mental health in Ireland through photography. This is an exhibition of photographs taken by students around the themes of mental health and youth suicide.
Internationally, researchers are becoming more aware of the importance of including people who are at the focus of research in meaningful ways through participatory research approaches. MYSTORY is centred around a visual research method called photovoice, which places cameras in the hands of people participating in research, to facilitate reflection on particular issues in an empowering and communal way. “Photovoice is a useful research tool for sharing perspectives on sensitive topics, such as mental health and suicide prevention, and providing a space to hear the voices of those who are seldomly heard in research, such as young people’ says Eibhlin Walsh, doctoral student at University of Limerick.
Young people in Be Well, Limerick Youth Service, have engaged with MYSTORY by sharing expertise on photography, taking photos representing various youth mental health themes, informing the conduct of MYSTORY through a young person’s advisory group, discussing mental health issues for youth, sharing thoughts and ideas on how schools can support youth mental health and suicide prevention, and planning a photography exhibition. Youth advisory group members Caitlin Guckian and Joshua O’Dwyer spoke at the launch. Caitlin described her experiences with the MYSTORY project “Personally, this exhibition is incredibly important to me, this was a completely new way to look at our mental health’. Josh, another Youth Advisory Panel member said “Each of us had a different perspective but the photos produced by every single person tells their story, stories that are equally vulnerable, poignant and personal”. John Real, added “The collaborative nature of this project between UL and Be Well, Limerick Youth Service has meant the young people involved got to be heard within a piece of meaningful research that can have a real benefit to their lives, and also afforded them the chance to express themselves and get creative through the photography. MYSTORY could also be useful for improving school mental health programmes going forward’.
@JennytalksPsych @Eibhlin_W collaborating with BeWell @limerickyouth were thrilled to have @DanielButlerFG launch the #MYSTORY #Photovoice exhibition as part of #LimerickMHW This exhibition showcases the talent & #youthmentalhealth perspectives of @limerickyouth young people 1/3 pic.twitter.com/y8SXH7130T
— i-TEACH (@iTEACHie) October 13, 2021
Cllr Daniel Butler, Mayor of Limerick, who opened the launch, summarised the exhibition as ‘powerful, and the raw words and emotion of those who have taken part resonates with us all of course. It is important that we work together to highlight mental health issues.” Brendan Egan, Visual Artist – Educational Curator at Limerick City Gallery of Art and Shinnors Scholar PhD candidate shared similar sentiments on the exhibition, he commended the young artists for ‘sharing all of your really personal experiences and your stories with us through these beautiful images’. He also noted that ‘Limerick City Art Gallery is really delighted to host this exhibition and to collaborate with this initiative as part of Limerick Mental Health Week’.
The Limerick Mental Health Week 2021 MYSTORY Exhibition in the Limerick City Gallery of Art showcases the hard work and talent of young people in Be Well, Limerick Youth Service, through photography taken as part of MYSTORY. The exhibition provides a youth-centred space to raise awareness and start conversations about various themes of youth mental health, including suicide prevention and the role of schools in youth mental health, with family, friends, schools, and the wider Limerick Community. Dr Jennifer McMahon notes that ‘school mental health promotion, particularly in the area of suicide prevention will benefit greatly from the input of young people and MYSTORY provides a template for gathering these thoughts and insights. The resulting work is powerful and is sure to stimulate much needed youth centred debate and discussion in classrooms and the community’. MYSTORY exhibition runs in the LCGA until November 1st
MYSTORY is part of a programme of research on school mental health led by Dr Jennifer McMahon and forms part of Eibhlin Walsh’s doctoral research on school-based suicide prevention, funded by the National Institute of Studies in Education.
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