Resilience Academy Mental Health Classes for Teens

by Pieta House
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Resilience Academy Mental Health Classes for Teens
Resilience Academy Mental Health Classes for Teens
Resilience Academy Mental Health Classes for Teens

From September 2018 to June 2019 (the 2018/2019 school year), the Resilience Academy was delivered to 6,258 students, 270 classes, in 69 schools, across 18 counties. This monumental growth on the 2017/2018 school year, the pikot year when the programme was delivered to more than 600 students.

In the first three months of the 2019/2020 school year, from September to December, the Resilience Academy has already been delivered to MORE than in the whole of last year combined.

From September 2019-December 2019, the Resilience Academy has been delivered to:

  • 72 schools
  • 274 classes
  • 6,777 students
  • in 14 counties across Ireland

We are thrilled to have delivered the Resilience Academy in Dublin, Laois, Kildare, Meath, Tipperary, Limerick, Mayo, Sligo, Leitrim, Kilkenny, Cork, Galway, Monaghan, Cavan.

We are on track to deliver the Resilience Academy to more than 11,000 students across 23 counties in Ireland by June 2020.

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Pieta House is excited to have been supported 69 schools across 18 counties in Ireland this school year by delivering the Resilience Academy. In the first two years of delivering the programme, the Resilience Academy has supported more nearly 7,000 students by increasing protective factors such as coping methods, problem solving, decision-making, and cognitive skills. It allows students to recognize their strengths, identify techniques to remain calm ins stressful situations and to create a toolbox of practical strategies for enhancing their mental well being. The evidence-based progamme is run within a school environment.  Topics include family; friendships; bullying; managing school stress; substance abuse; sexuality body image; and mental health.

It specifically targets students in the 13-14-year-old age bracket - the ‘difficult/dangerous’ midpoint of adolescence, and the period that immediately precedes the age bracket (15-16 years) where Pieta sees many young people attending our intervention services in crisis point.In the years between 2011-2015 Pieta House saw a more than 163% increase in children under 18 accessing our services in crisis. In 2018, 33% of our clients were under 18, at nearly 2,427 individuals. 

Pieta House is thrilled to be delivering the Resilience Academy to a groundbreaking 123 schools and nearly 11,000 students in the 2019/2020 school year. Our 8 facilitators have just completed the first block of our 6 block school year. By the end of this school year, the 2019/2020 school year, the Resilience Academy will have been delivered to more than 17% of students in this demographic in all of Ireland.

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Did you know?

  • In 2014, suicide was the second leading cause of death among 15 – 29 year olds globally (World Health Organisation, 2014).
  • Ireland has 4th highest suicide rate for 15 – 19-year-olds in Europe (Kelly, 2017)
  • In addition Ireland has the highest rate of child suicide for girls up to the age of 19 (Womens Council Ireland,2018).

It has been reported that...

  • For every Irish boy aged 15 – 17 who dies by suicide, 16 present with self-harm to hospitals and 146 self-harm in the community ((McMahon and colleagues, 2014).
  • For every Irish girl who dies by suicide, 162 present to hospital with self-harm (based on data from 1997 – 2011).

Pieta house had seen 163% increase in people under age of 18 presenting due to suicide or self-harm in the five years between 2011-2016

In 2018, 2,457 young people under the age of 18 attended Pieta House for crisis counselling

The Resilience Academy is Pieta Houses response to the above statistic

Core Goals of Resilience Academy:

  • Replace stigma with acceptance by educating young people about mental health and encouraging open dialogue.
  • Improve understanding of body changes in adolescence that might affect emotions and behaviour.
  • Teaching coping strategies to improve resilience in at risk youth.
  • Encouraging students to enhance protective factors that have been shown to reduce suffering and/or encourage help seeking behaviour.
  • Promoting a number of mental health services available so adolescents know where to seek help if necessary.

2017/2018 Academic Year = Resilience Academy delivered to 623 students in 8 schools

2018/2019 Academic Year = Resilience Academy delivered to 6,258 students in 270 classrooms in 69 schools across 18 counties in Ireland


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We all know that teenage years are a challenge, but not everyone knows the following:

-Ireland has the highest rate of death by suicide among teenage girls in Europe and the second highest rate among teenage boys

-The Resilience Academy was developed in direct response to 163% increase in the number of under 18's presenting to Pieta House due to suicide or self-harm. In 2018 along we saw over 2,400 adloescents in our clinical centres

We expect teenagers to be able to cope without ever explicitly teaching them how. As parents and teachers, we can't remove every obstacle from their lives, but we can provide them with the knowledge, skills, and tools they need to respond to these challanges in a healthy and constructive manner.

Our Resilience Academy team has grown exponentially this year and increased out reach into schools around the country


-8 Resilience Academy facilitators located across the country

-170 schools engaged with the programme

-6,000+ student will receive the Resilience Academy by the end of the 2018/2019 school year


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Pieta House was founded in 2006 and the largest provider of therapy services, for suicide and self-harm in Ireland. Our services are available in 15 centres nationwide. We work in conjunction with the National Office for Suicide Prevention, the Health Service Executive, Tusla – the Child and Family Support Agency and other national and local services to maximise care for our clients.

 Our Resilience Academy was offered to secondary schools nationwide for the third year running, and has grown dramatically from the 400 students total seen in the 2017/2018 school year. In 2018/2019 academic year, the programme will be delivered  in  74 schools across 18 counties. In those schools, the resilience academy facilitators will train 273 classes and more than 6,696 students in total. 71 teacher sessions accumulating to 111 hours will be delivered to school staff in conjunction with the students training. Aggressive fundraising is being undertaken and the numbers in June at the end of the school year are likely to be much higher as we are regularly receiving solicitation from schools to provide Resilience Academy to their students.

 The Resilience Academy is like no other programme in Ireland:

  •  It  is  all  about  the  schools,  with  students  identifying  andaddressing  the  issues  that  are important to them.
  • Our modules have been developed with specialists in each area.
  •  All  sessions  are  delivered  by  Pieta  House  therapists,  who  stay  after  each  session  in  case anyone needs to talk.
  •  We make sure the same therapists deliver the programme each week so they can build a rapport with students.
  •  The programme is delivered over 6 weeks but we stay in touch with the school afterwards so they always have someone to speak with if they need to.
  •  We can prove it works. We have testimonials and statistics to show that students who have completed the programme have increased levels of resilience, as well as increased hope for the future, an ability to handle upset feelings, and an increase in connection with their school.

Our Resilience Academy is a professional, adaptable programme that provides life-long skills for students, and hassle-free support and information teachers.

We at Pieta House believe that prevention is the way forward in addressing deaths by suicide in Ireland. As a large portion of our clients who reach out to us in crisis are under the age of 18, this work is vitally important. Thank you for supporting Ireland's youth and our Pieta House Resilience Academy.


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Organization Information

Pieta House

Location: Tallaght, Dublin 24 - Ireland
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @PietaHouse
Pieta House
Erin McKay
Project Leader:
Erin McKay
Tallaght, Dublin 24 Ireland

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