Da Silly Heads duo share tips and tricks for minding mental health

Mental health awareness and promotion will form a part of Local Enterprise Week, with the Local Enterprise Cork City line-up featuring Daniel O’Mahony and Michal Sikora, of Da Silly Heads, as the duo explain here
Da Silly Heads duo share tips and tricks for minding mental health

Daniel O’Mahony and Michal Sikora, of Da Silly Heads.

DIGITAL hugs and digital high fives are the order of the day now when it comes to our workshops.

Da Silly Heads is a new, forward thinking social enterprise with the promotion of mental health advocacy at its core. How is this done you might ask? Through advocacy apparel designed to spark conversation and express solidarity, as well as mental health focused workshops, our aim with Da Silly Heads is to build a movement of advocacy within Irish communities.

Although Da Silly Heads was set up as a business in October 2020, the groundwork and piloting was taking place from the summer of 2018. As friends we created the concept whilst completing our business degree at Cork Institute of Technology.

A key component of Da Silly Heads movement is our Stigma is Silly workshop. This highly engaging workshop is focused on what we call visual mental health advocacy. 

Visually advocating for mental health really is about expressing what you stand for when it comes to mental health, but in a way that can be seen by others. 

For Dan, it was this subtle, yet influential method of solidarity that was one of the key components in starting my own process of dealing with my silly heads.

The workshop was developed over several months by ourselves but with the help of a number of mental health professionals. The aim of the one hour workshop is to highlight the power of mental health advocacy as well as educating participants on topics such as mental health stigma and its impact, GAD (Generalised Anxiety Disorder), and OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). The topics highlighted all centre around Dan’s story in dealing with these issues, and this allows the workshop to be delivered authentically.

While the workshop is designed to get people to feel more confident in advocating, it is a great chance to see our silly heads in action.

As Cork entrepreneurs we worked closely with fellow Cork man Kevin O’Sullivan, a 3D animator working out of London.

We needed to bring our silly heads to life, to make the separation between us as people and these labels. We came across Kevin through a mutual contact and he instantly bought into the concept. We enhance the separation between us and our silly heads by actually talking to them during the workshop, which takes a bit of coordination on our part but is being received really well.

Without giving too much away, we have had to adapt to virtually delivering our workshop for now, and have come up with creative ways in which to make participants feel they are as close to being in the same room as possible.

Initially, we saw the workshop being delivered onsite across organisations, institutions and schools but like every business we’ve had to change course. Normally, we may be throwing a pom pom or two into the audience giving away a Da Silly Bobble hat, or distributing jellies to people with correct answers. Now, we use digital hugs, digital high fives and free rounds of applause in a bid to keep this connection.

It’s important to note that we see our visual mental health advocacy method as an addition to more traditional methods of advocating regarding mental health, and feel it will be an important tool within communities as we exit the current pandemic and Da Silly Heads have some amazing support in order to achieve this.

The Local Enterprise Office Cork have been absolutely amazing in their support for our cause and we are very grateful to be working with them for Enterprise Week. It sends out a strong message about Cork as a city, that we care about our people and their mental health, and are committed to pushing mental health stigma out of our communities.

Da Silly Heads will be taking part in Local Enterprise Week with LEO Cork City. This year the schedule is packed with events from “Tips and Tools for Minding your Mental Health and Wellbeing during COVID-19” (with the HSE) to a session on selling online.

MORE ABOUT LOCAL ENTERPRISE WEEK

Local Enterprise Week 2021 will take place from Monday March 1 to Friday March 5. All of the events throughout the week are free of charge and will be moving online this year.

Throughout the week there will be panel discussions, networking sessions, Business Advice Clinics and workshops such as “Funding the Digitalisation of SMEs” (with Cork Smart Gateway).

Local Enterprise Week is a highly anticipated national event organised by Local Enterprise Offices around Ireland. As part of this, Local Enterprise Office, Cork City will be running its own series of free business related events for Cork city businesses and budding entrepreneurs.

The week is packed with informative online workshops, talks and conferences aimed at supporting owners and managers of small businesses in the city.

For further information on the list of the free events and activities taking place in Cork City during Local Enterprise Week visit www.localenterprise.ie/CorkCity.

For more detail on the Da Silly Heads story you can visit www.dasillyheads.com, Facebook page @Da Silly Heads or Instagram page @dasillyheads.

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