As part of the First Fortnight Festival acclaimed musician and mental health advocate Professor Green visited South Dublin County for a special event to meet and speak with local mental health and community leaders, as well as taking some time to meet and speak in depth with some young people from the area who are advocating for better approaches and attitudes to mental health.

The event, which was part of the First Fortnight European Mental Health Art and Culture Festival, was hosted by Deputy Mayor of South Dublin County Council, Councillor Cathal King at Tallaght Stadium on Saturday 19 January. The event included speeches from Mary McLoughlin of HOPE Suicide Prevention Drop In Centre in Tallaght, Jeff O’Toole of Jobstown Safetalk Programme and Old Bawn native J.P. Swaine, co-founder of First Fortnight with performances from local singer / songwriter Justin Casey and poet Stephan James Smith who is from Kingswood.

During his opening comments Deputy Mayor King explained that the main purpose of the event was to bring local groups together to make connections and to learn from each other’s experiences with a view to improving the positive mental health of our entire community through leadership. “Part of today’s event is an effort to break the social stigma and ensure that our community feel they belong, that there is always a listening ear, and a helpful hand nearby”, he said.

Stephen Paul Manderson, better known by his stage name Professor Green or simply Pro Green, is a British rapper, singer, songwriter, actor and television personality from London. He is the co-host of Lip Sync Battle UK on Channel 5 with a significant presence on BBC Three and increasingly on Channel 4. Stephen is an advocate for several campaigns on mental health including depression, male suicide, poverty, working-class white men and other challenges facing the vulnerable in society.  In November 2016 Professor Green received the MIND Making a Difference National Award rewarding his dedication to campaigning about men’s mental health through his documentaries, music, autobiography and media work.