Young people

Helping young people to thrive and flourish

  • Society

The COVID-19 pandemic required young people to come to terms with a vastly different way of life.

As restrictions lift and we emerge from the pandemic, they continue to experience a unique set of challenges while also facing the social and economic impact of the pandemic.

Adolescence is a critical period for developing and maintaining social and emotional habits that are important for lifelong good health and well-being. Research has shown that when young people practice positive psychology strategies, they experience real benefits, including reduced symptoms of anxiety and depression, the ability to find fulfilment, and greater satisfaction with their lives.

In August 2021, the RCSI Centre for Positive Psychology and Health launched a new course aimed at giving young people the skills to optimise their health and well-being.

Over 10 weeks, the free online course 'The Science of Health and Happiness for Young People' will explore the principles of positive psychology and lifestyle medicine and cover a range of topics tailored to young people between 12 and 18 years old.

The course will be led by clinicians, researchers and academics at the RCSI Centre for Positive Psychology and Health. Sessions include growth mindsets, positive emotions, whole person health, exam management, regulating anxiety and time-management.

In 2020, a pilot programme initiated by Dr Pádraic Dunne from the Centre was conducted with transition year students from two Irish secondary schools: Athy College and Ard Scoil Na Trionaide, Athy, Kildare. Feedback from Joanne Parry, Guidance Counsellor and Assistant Principal at Athy College, and the students was used to develop this course.

The course has been designed for educators and workers in a position of responsibility with Garda vetting, including youth workers and youth coaches. Each session is designed to fit the classroom format of 40 minutes.

The course follows the success of ‘The Science of Health and Happiness’ which saw more than 25,000 people sign up to learn how the scientific principles of positive psychology and lifestyle medicine can enhance health and well-being.

RCSI is committed to achieving a better and more sustainable future through the UN Sustainable Development Goals.