The day started out with Rory Langford, General Manager, giving an opening speech and introducing our first speaker, Donal Scanlon, Mental Health First Aid Ireland. Donal took us on a very interactive journey into the world of Mental Health. Teaching us the very basics of Mental Health and giving us the tools to help, not only with our own mental health, but also to discuss mental health with others.
One of the striking parts of the presentation was a video about the Black Dog, https://youtu.be/XiCrniLQGYc. It talked about how we all have a black dog that follows us everywhere. This represents our mental health and shows how “the dog” can affect us all in different ways. It gave guidance on how to manage our own black dogs, and not let them deprive us off what life has to offer.
Following on from Donal we heard from Jack Kavanagh who share with us his truly inspirational life story. At the age of 20, Jack sustained a spinal cord injury, which left him paralysed from the chest down. This has left him with 15% muscle functionality including limited use of his hands and arms. Despite this phenomenal setback Jack didn’t let these new challenges in life stop him. He took us through his story, starting from his childhood and continuing to his new life after the injury. He spoke about how he doesn’t let “limitation” stop him from achieving and pursuing life as he wants it. He focuses on only impressing himself and tells of how we should all do the same.
“Bring your authentic self to the world” – Jack Kavanagh
For the afternoon everything changed to fun and games for team bonding activities that were run by TeamBuild.ie. The group was divided into team to allow people who normally do not work together an opportunity to get to know eachother.
Colm Moynihan, General Manager NorthStar, closed the day by reflecting on the stories we had heard and the lesson those stories teach us – there is no shame in asking for help and always “Bring your authentic self to the world”.
A big thanks to our HR department for organising such an incredible and insightful day.