VIDEO: Mayfield teens’ rap video has strong message about bullying and suicide

A trio of musicians from Mayfield have produced a rap song and video that sends a positive message to young people about issues such as suicide and bullying. JANE MC NAMARA finds out more
VIDEO: Mayfield teens’ rap video has strong message about bullying and suicide
SAY IT LOUD, SAY IT PROUD: Stylish artwork made bt he girls at Mayfield Arts Centre to highlight some of the lyrics to the song.

A GROUP of Mayfield teens are releasing a rap song today that addresses issues such as suicide, anxiety and bullying among young people.

The group is called Mayfield Youth and their song, Reach Out, is available on social media sites such as Youtube. They hope young people in Cork will hear their message and know they are not alone.

It was being launched at Mayfield Library at 2.30pm today with rugby star Simon Zebo as guest.

Youth worker Deirdre Dennigan said the group came up with the idea for the rap after becoming concerned with what they were seeing around them.

“Mayfield is a superb community,” said Deirdre, who has been a youth worker there since 2001. “People come together all the time and there are always great collaborations.

“This group were really affected by the level of bullying, teenage depression and anxiety they were seeing, as well as the amount of suicides in the city. They just felt it was too much.

“They are all very musical so we spent a couple of weeks trying to figure out what we could do and they decided they would like to write a rap. We consulted Gary McCarthy who is with GMC Beats workshops to help.”

The song features the talents of three people — 20-year-old rapper Shane Keane, singer Trisha Sexton, and 17-year-old Paul Woods.

“Trisha was 13 at the time and is now 14, she is the main vocalist in the group,” said Deirdre.

“The three of them wrote the rap and recorded it with Gary over a number of weeks. Gary is brilliant. He brings out the best in them and has great expertise.

“Initially, the guys wanted to lash it up on social media straight away but I just felt the lyrics were so powerful and I said ‘Look, it’s too good. It will be up online and gone again’. They agreed we should do more so in January we made the video, which is great.

“We want to spread the word that if you are struggling with any issues, to go and talk to someone.

“A lot of the kids, and the group themselves, say that when things get really hard they might pull away from friends and family.

“So they are learning as they go that when they are struggling is when they need to tell someone, ‘OK, I need some extra help here’.

“They each wrote their individual piece in the rap and they are all equally powerful.”

Bullying is a big theme in the song, as well as young people who are feeling suicidal or who have depression and anxiety.

HONOURED: Megan Kelleher and Trisha Sexton receiving the 'Ones to watch' award at Foróige's National Citizenship award, with Brenda Coyne from Foróige in Dublin.
HONOURED: Megan Kelleher and Trisha Sexton receiving the 'Ones to watch' award at Foróige's National Citizenship award, with Brenda Coyne from Foróige in Dublin.

The part written and performed by Shane is based on personal experience: ‘Getting hurtful messages every night but I had my friends so I was alright. Resilient mind, you can’t break it. But what about the ones who just can’t take it?’

Shane said: “I honestly think there should be more projects like this in Cork, to keep young people occupied and get them off the streets. Growing up in Cork, the streets can be a bad place for young people. These rap projects helped me a lot, they should be funded more. It would make such a big difference to the communities and help the youth so much.

“This songs speaks for all the youth of Cork. I lost friends to suicide and knew friends who got bullied and fell into depression and were too scared to tell people about how they where feeling.

“I thought creating this song would help people of all ages understand that we all go through hard times in life but it’s always OK to talk, speak out and get help. If we help one person with this song I will be delighted.”

The group have also organised a postcard campaign to coincide with the launch today. The song aims to raise awareness of the work by Foróige for youth in communities. Deirdre explained: “We made beautiful postcards with some of the lyrics and information on the back about where to get help and we will be circulating them.

“We want to promote all of the services Foróige offer but also to draw attention to reachout.com which is a great service, especially if you want to get help anonymously.”

Deirdre added: “There are so many teens dealing with anxiety, the whole social media scene is good but it needs to be managed.

“I have seen an increase in anxiety in youth in recent years. To address it myself I have done a lot of training in mindfulness. I bring mindfulness in with the kids a lot. It is all about managing your head and your thoughts.”

“Although suicide is dealt with in the rap, what we want to talk about is life. We want to point to where the help is and we want to bring awareness. We want to talk about how to look after yourself and stay connected. The message is to speak to people if you are struggling.”

MESSAGE: Shane Keane with Trish Sexton and Paul Woods, while filming their video.
MESSAGE: Shane Keane with Trish Sexton and Paul Woods, while filming their video.

To help spread the message, the group also designed a Peer Education Workshop and ran it in St Patrick’s College, where they shared the rap and video.

“Trisha and another girl, Megan Kelleher, made some very cool art pieces with Tom in Mayfield Arts centre highlighting some of the key messages from the rap,” said Deirdre. “Then they discussed the issues with their classmates.

“We entered the rap, the video and the Peer Education piece into Foróige’s National Citizenship Awards and on April 29 we attended the awards in the City West Hotel in Dublin and won the ‘Ones To Watch’ award. Needless to say we were all thrilled.”

Deirdre urges people to go online to watch the video today.

“The beauty of this is that the kids wrote it. They wrote about their own experiences and what they are seeing. They are trying to tell young people, ‘Don’t keep it all bottled up, reach out and get the help, things will get better.’

“And while it is written by teens for teens there are major messages there for parents, grandparents and for everyone. You do really have to reach out and talk.”

“There is a massive rap scene in Cork, it is unreal, and we are really hoping the Cork radio stations will play Reach Out. We want to keep spreading our message.”

The services in the Peer Education Workshops are as follows:

Foróige Mayfield: Deirdre Dennigan 086 8523077.

To get support on a wide range of issues including managing anxiety, depression, bullying, feeling suicidal, alcohol and drugs.

Deirdre can link people to other Foróige projects and also to a wide range of other support services in Mayfield and across the city.

See the ReachOut.com website for advice and information on a wide range of issues that affect young people.




Lyrics to Reach Out


Shane verse

Soon after I started rapping I was put to the floor

to the point I didn’t want to do it anymore

separated from my soul like a divorce

and I didn’t want to take a step out the door

So I got a notepad to collect my thoughts

and the feelings that I found were so raw

found my own escape to my own new world

life picked me up and spun me around

Getting hurtful messages every night

but I had my friends so I was alright

resilient mind you can break it

but what about the ones that just can’t take it

And escape it, get sedated

straight to the brain to erase the pain

I never met God but I saw Satan

but if you dance with the devil it’s fatal

Chorus

Reach Out Speak Out

You never know what’s going on in someone else’s life

Trisha verse

See her in school like every day

and I know she’s trying to hide her pain

she walks around always looking down

there’s something inside that’s making her frown

Other girls get up in her face

calling her names til she runs away

I try to be her friend but she is disconnected

everyone she’s rejecting

Tried talk to her but she won’t speak

she must be lonely

I wish that she would take a minute to get to know me

I know she need someone to guide her,

to clear the anger up inside her

Getting mocked by everyone even my friends

She must be scared I might be like them

But I wouldn’t do that ’cause I’m not like that

Wanna take her hand get her off this path

Trying my best to reach out

and be someone to help her speak out

Telling her be brave and have faith

’Cause I know this depression phase will go away

Paul verse

Suicidal thoughts going through their brains

day by day the going insane

there’s only one factor that remains

and it’s all caused by distress and the strain

Bullying these days, a disgrace

mocking other people because of their race

displaced for being different

imprisoned like society won’t listen

From session to session suppressing depression

Shutting everybody out not letting them in,

a life wasted can lead to a life of sin

From session to session suppressing depression

Open up your eyes and realise

that life can be a paradise.

Chorus

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