Loughshore Stories (Press Release)
Empowering marginalised youth in education who feel voiceless, excluded, and misunderstood. We aim to break the cycle of limited qualifications, which often leads to reduced job opportunities, substance misuse and poor mental health.
Carrying on Gerard Mullan's Legacy: A Commitment to Mental Health Awareness
10th October 2023 – World Mental Health Day
"Voicing the Void," a community interest company established during the lockdown, is dedicated to inspiring personal and societal change through restorative storytelling. In memory of Gerard Mullan, a young man who tragically lost his life to suicide, the organisation and Gerard's mother, Ainé Mullan, remain steadfast in their commitment to championing mental health awareness. Gerard, a 20-year-old from north Belfast, passed away in May after a prolonged battle with mental health challenges.
John Lyster, the head of Loughshore Educational Centre, shared his appreciation for the organisation's efforts, stating, "We are profoundly grateful for Voicing the Void's partnership with our centre. The outreach staff, being just a few years older than our students and having faced similar challenges, resonate deeply with our young people. They not only share their stories of hope and resilience but also guide our students towards available support. Earlier in the year, Voicing the Void facilitated our students in narrating their journeys through short films. These films serve as a beacon of hope, showing that challenges can be overcome. We are eager to continue this fruitful collaboration."
Despite his personal struggles, Gerard emerged as a beacon of hope for many. His passionate advocacy culminated in his pivotal role as a founding member of "Voicing the Void."
Ainé Mullan, alongside Rory Doherty, the Chief Executive and founder of Voicing the Void, are dedicated to sharing Gerard's story. They believe that by shedding light on his journey, they can potentially prevent further suicides in Northern Ireland. "If even one person is touched by Gerard’s story," says Ainé, "his legacy lives on."
Gerard, often described as the "life and soul" of his family, left a lasting impression. His interactions with notable figures, like Roman Kemp, and his mantra, "Live to inspire others," resonated deeply with many.
Rory Doherty reflects, "Gerard's story was compelling. We supported him wholeheartedly, and when he was ready, we provided a platform. His social media outreach had a profound impact, with individuals from as far away as Australia crediting his positive mental health videos for their support during lockdown."
Ainé is gearing up to engage young audiences in partnership with Voicing the Void, highlighting the profound impact of losing a loved one to suicide. She emphasizes the ripple effects of such a tragedy. "The void left by Gerard is immense, but he was my guiding light during the darkest times. I'm determined to honour him," Ainé shares.
In tribute to Gerard, Ainé and members of Voicing the Void champion his guiding principles, "Live to inspire others" and "Good Vibes Only." Gerard had been instrumental in co-facilitating storytelling workshops at Loughshore Educational Resource Centre. These sessions unveiled the myriad challenges faced by youth, from bullying and grooming to peer pressure, mental health issues, and violence. The resilience and courage displayed by these young participants are evident in their narratives, which aim to raise awareness and drive positive change through their short films.
Aligned with World Mental Health Day on October 10th, Voicing the Void, in collaboration with Ainé, will host workshops at Loughshore Educational Resource Centre. These sessions will address the challenges faced by today's youth, equipping them with coping strategies. A highlight will be the premiere of short films in Gerard's memory, underscoring the critical importance of mental health awareness. Ainé's message is clear: "It's okay not to be okay. Speak out, confide in someone. I don't want another family to endure the pain we're experiencing."
Through these poignant narratives and coping tools, Voicing the Void seeks to enlighten, empower, and deepen the understanding of the challenges the younger generation confronts.
For more information about Voicing the Void and their mission, visit their website at www.voicingthevoid.com.
Ready to Publish:
10th October 2023