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To all Teachers Please ensure to familiarise yourself and your students with the Rules and Guidelines for the Public Speaking Project prior to commencement. MHI’s National Public Speaking Project has been very successful for many years because of the active support and tremendous effort and work of dedicated and interested teachers in the school. We ask you, once again, to respond to our call and encourage more active participation by all students in the Project. An evaluation of the Project confirmed the following benefits of participation: • • • • •

Increased self-confidence Positive rapport and relationship with parents and fellow students Encouragement of social awareness and values Career motivation and success at interviews and examinations Broader understanding and appreciation of the concerns of disadvantaged groups and social problems • School and community co-operation and sense of pride and achievement • Research methods and topic analysis • Improved PUBLIC SPEAKING ability


For all of the above reasons, we ask you to promote the Public Speaking Project within your school: • To organise discussions and essay writing at class level • To arrange class talks by a health professional e.g. psychiatrist, psychologist, social worker, mental health nurse, through the local Mental Health Association or Regional Development Officer in your area (see enclosed contact list) • To organise an internal school Public Speaking Project • To select a team to represent the school In these ways many students will be encouraged to think about mental health issues and gain a greater awareness and understanding of mental health and mental illness.


Comments from National Winners 2012 Students’ comments: “Not only did it enhance my confidence and public speaking skills, it also educated me on the importance of positive mental health. I really wasn’t aware of the severity of mental health problems in Ireland or the services available to deal with them, until our participation in the Project.” “I now know how important everyday situations are. It’s not just problems such as death or breakdown in a relationship or families that cause poor mental health, but the decisions and problems we meet every day and how we deal with them. This Project has taught me that mental wellness is not only mentally related. Physical health is essential in order to have positive mental health. I now understand that your surroundings such as your friends, family, school or home have a major effect on your mental health but in the end it depends on the person, how they view the problem in hand, how they choose to deal with it and the attitude they have towards overcoming it.”

2013 Students’ comments: “To be honest, the Public Speaking Project has been an absolutely fantastic experience for me. Before I ever did this, I would never have imagined myself on stage speaking in front of a small audience, let alone in front of a large audience. It’s been great, I have really grown in self-confidence and feel that if I was asked to speak anywhere now, it would be no problem whatsoever for me.” “Mental Health is something everyone should hear about. When we relentlessly went over and over our speeches people were in fact picking up on information and statistics, which stuck in their heads.” “I decided I wanted to take part in the public speaking project with the school because I have seen other teams go through the project and do well. I talked with some of the previous contestants and they all gave me really good feedback and told me how it was a great experience for them. Some of them were able to use their speeches in their Leaving Cert English exam, while one actually went to Trinity to study Psychology as a direct result of participation in the project. It is an inspirational and exciting project.”


Guidelines for Development Officers & Local Mental Health Associations Ăˆ IMPORTANT INFORMATION – Please familiarise yourself with the rules outlined in the Guidelines for Participants and the Rules and Guidelines for the Public Speaking Project prior to commencement of the project. Local and County Level: 1.

Packs will be sent to schools in early September 2013, therefore, preliminary rounds should be underway by 4th November, 2013.


Each school should be asked to nominate a teacher who will accept responsibility for tutoring its Public Speaking Team.


Local MHAs should form their own Public Speaking Committees with 2 or 3 members, which would have special responsibility for promoting the Project in their own areas.


Local MHAs should visit the schools in person in order to promote the Project. An appointment should be arranged in advance with the Principal and/or other interested teachers. They should explain the background to the Project, its overall aim and format.




Local MHAs should involve as many Post-Primary schools as possible in their area. They should also promote the Project as widely as possible by means of posters within schools, shops, community centres and churches. Local press and radio should also be utilised as much as possible. Local MHAs are responsible for the selection of adjudicators who do not have to be members but who have had experience in the area of public speaking. Each adjudication panel must have at least 3 members, one of whom should be from the mental health field. Wherever possible the same panel should adjudicate up to and including the local final. Local MHAs should arrange a meeting of the adjudicators in September before the Project gets underway. They should then outline the history and purpose of the Project and explain the marking system. It is essential at this stage to ensure the adjudicators know all of the rules.


Local MHAs are responsible for prizes for local winners and runners-up.

10. Local MHAs are responsible for the choice of venues and dates for Public Speaking rounds in their area. Schools and adjudicators should be informed at least 2 weeks in advance of all relevant details. 11. A separate room should be provided which adjudicators may use in order to reach their decision. 12. Local/County Finals should be completed by Friday, 6th December, 2013.

Regional and National Level: 13. The winning team at county level will go on to participate in the Regional Final. Regional Finals will commence on Monday, 13th January, 2014. National Semi-Finals will be completed by Friday, 7th March, 2014. 14. A national panel of adjudicators, chosen by MHI, will adjudicate at regional and national levels. 15. Adjudicators may not carry out regional adjudications in their own areas. MHI staff may not adjudicate. 16. Prizes at regional and national level will be provided by MHI. Certificates will be awarded at the national semi-final stage. 17. Three teams will participate in the National Final. 18. The National Final will be held in the Edmund Burke Theatre, Trinity College, Dublin 2. 19. The date for the National Final is

SATURDAY, 5th APRIL 2014 at 4p.m. 8.

Members of the adjudication panel in any round should not have an affiliation to a participating team in that round. 2013/2014

National Public Speaking Project 2013-2014 Dates Project Timeline – Guideline for Development Officers/local MHAs/local Co-ordinators to assist with meeting project deadlines Promotional Packs available in schools from

Sep 9th (Mon)

Closing date for entries

Oct 7th (Mon)

Mid-Term Break : schools closed (1 week)

Oct 28th (Mon)-Nov 1st (Fri) incl. Schools close Fri 25th Oct and re-open Mon 4th Nov, 2013

Preliminary rounds commence

Nov 4th (Mon)

County finals to be completed

Dec 6th (Fri)

Christmas School Holidays (2 weeks)

Dec 20th (Fri) – Jan 3rd (Fri) incl. Schools close Dec 20th (Fri) 2013 and re-open Jan 6th (Mon) 2014

2014 Schools re-open and any outstanding county finals must be completed this week

Jan 6th (Mon)to Jan 10th (Fri)

Note: Teams can keep the same topic for Regional Finals but it must be a team topic. Therefore, if a team chose individual topics for the preliminary rounds, then they must now select one of these only and expand and develop it due to the additional time allowed each speaker – see Item No 7 - Topics in the Rules and Guidelines for the Public Speaking Project section of the Information Pack. Regional Finals (x 9) to commence Mid-Term Break : schools closed (1 week)

Jan 13th (Mon) Feb 17th (Mon)-21st (Fri) incl. Schools close Feb 14th (Fri) and re-open Feb 24th (Mon)

National Semi Finals to be completed

Mar 7th (Fri) 2014

National Final in Trinity College, Dublin

April 5th (Saturday)

Easter School Holidays

Schools close on Fri April 11th and re-open Mon Apr 28th 2013/2014

Guidelines for Participants


PREPARING AND DELIVERING YOUR SPEECH A good speech takes a lot of preparation. Structure it well and practise it often. THE OPENING Get off to a good start. Research shows that your audience forms its impressions of you very early on. Experts advise the best openers could include one of the following: • • • • • •

Research undertaken in your school/ locality A question A striking quotation A startling fact A funny story – if you can! A reason why the audience should listen on why the topic is relevant to them

Remember – keep your opening short and informal. If it is a team effort use your opening to link up with your team members. CLOSING YOUR SPEECH Finishing well is important too and should leave your audience with a strong message. Always plan your ending and don’t just fizzle out or trail off with a weak “thank you” or similar. Some suggestions: • Never end with “that’s all I have to say” or “I think that’s enough” • Summarise or re-state main points • Appeal for action • Raise a laugh • Use a quote Remember – always stop before your audience wants you to stop but don’t talk about stopping. DEVELOPING YOUR THEME In between the short introduction and the hopefully brief and effective ending, lies the core of the speech. In terms of MHI’s Public Speaking Project, this is where content, research, relevant and up-to-date statistics and references are vitally important. It is also important that participants give the impression that they understand all this material, that they can draw implications and conclusions from them, that they are advancing certain theories because they believe in them, not because they have been told to do so. Remember, artificiality is quite noticeable. Your talk will be better if it is original and based on your own thoughts and feelings about the topic. Say what you want to say not what you think should be said. Adjudicators will be marking on two aspects of your speech – your content and your delivery.

USE OF PERSONALISED STORIES Please be aware there is a guideline in this project around personal intimate life experiences or stories. This project aims to promote an awareness and understanding for you, your team and your school around the importance of positive mental health and the causes and effects of mental illness. We strongly urge sensitivity when dealing with personal mental health issues. Whilst it is acceptable to give personal views and experiences these should be used to highlight a point rather than become the complete focus of an individual or a team’s topic. WHAT YOU SAY • Keep it interesting • Keep it relevant • Make it your own • Avoid unnecessary padding • Mind your language. Use spoken everyday language and avoid jargon HOW YOU SAY IT • Be enthusiastic and sincere • Speak slowly and pause for effect • Vary your tone of voice • Make sure your audience can hear you • Maintain eye contact with your audience • Use movement and gesture appropriately • Speak to the audience and not to the floor • Watch your time. Pace yourself so your ending is not rushed TIMING Students are strongly recommended to remain within the time limits. Material outside the maximum timeframe will not be considered by adjudicators. See Rules and Guidelines section – Point No. 6 for timing guidelines throughout the project. PROPS, AUDIO, VISUAL AND/OR COMPUTER PRESENTATIONS AND PODIUM See Rules and Guidelines section – Points 9-12 inclusive. YOUR NOTES Don’t rely too much on either your notes or your memory. Notes should not distract the audience and are most effective when used as a prompt or a reminder. REMEMBER – IT’S NOT AN ESSAY, IT’S NOT A DRAMATIC COMPETITION. BE YOURSELF!


Previous National Public Speaking Winners 1982 Loreto Convent, Kilkenny

1999 Douglas Community School, Cork

1983 Pobal Scoil Chloich Cheannfhaola, An Fal Carrach, Dun na nGall

2000 Douglas Community School, Cork

1984 Mean Schoil Na Toirbhirte, Dingle, Kerry

2001 Community School, Gorey, Wexford

1985 Marian College, Mohill, Leitrim

2002 St. Patrick’s Academy, Islandeady, Castlebar, Mayo

1986 St. Michael’s College, Listowel, Kerry

2003 Loreto College, Mullingar, Westmeath

1987 Marian College, Mohill, Leitrim

2004 Castlerea Community School, Castlerea, Roscommon

1988 Scariff Community College, Scariff, Clare 1989 St. Mary’s CBS, Enniscorthy, Wexford 1990 Marian College, Mohill, Leitrim 1991 Mater Christi Secondary School, Finglas, Dublin 11 1992 Summerhill College, Sligo 1993 Vocational School, Ballyhale, Kilkenny 1994 St. Mary’s Secondary School, Tralee, Kerry 1995 Christ the King Secondary School, Cork 1996 Sacred Heart Secondary School, Ballyshannon, Donegal 1997 Carndonagh Community School, Donegal

2005 Gort Community School, Gort, Galway 2006 Sancta Maria College, Louisburgh, Mayo 2007 Abbey Commmunity College, Wicklow Town 2008 St. Gerald’s College, Castlebar, Co. Mayo 2009 Coláiste Eoin, Hacketstown, Co. Carlow 2010 Athlone Community College, Retreat Rd., Athlone, Co. Westmeath 2011 Lough Allen College, Drumkeerin, Co. Leitrim 2012 Summerhill College, Sligo 2013 Coláiste Eoin, Hacketstown, Co. Carlow

1998 Salerno Secondary School, Galway 2013/2014

Entry Form


Please apply online where possible - Instructions overleaf

I wish to enter a team for Mental Health Ireland’s

NATIONAL PUBLIC SPEAKING PROJECT 2013-2014 School/College Roll No: ________________________________ School/College:_________________________________________________________________________________________ Address:_______________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________________ Telephone No:_______________________________________ School E-mail:________________________________________ Principal:___________________________________________ Teacher E-mail: _______________________________________ Teacher-in-Charge:____________________________________ Mobile No.__________________________________________ Please ensure e-mail address is legible as we will correspond with schools via e-mail as much as possible unless requested otherwise.


Topic No.







(Substitute) ______________________________________________


If names and topic(s) are not yet decided, complete balance of Entry Form and return to Mental Health Ireland (see overleaf) as soon as possible, but not later than Monday, 7th October, 2013.

For office use only: Forwarded: o Registered: o 2013/2014

ONLINE ENTRY You may submit an entry online at our website Click on projects and activities; select National Public Speaking Project to access application form. We appreciate that schools may not have chosen speakers or topics. In this instance please select the “undecided” option from the drop down menu and then please ensure you email with your choices on or before Monday 7th October 2013.

Alternatively post/fax your entry to: Barbara Davis Project Co-Ordinator Mental Health Ireland Mensana House, 2 Marine Terrace, Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin Tel: 01-2841166 Fax: 01-2841736 Email:

National Public Speaking Project Steering Group Members Chairman: Eamonn O’Sullivan John McGetrick John Cronin Michael Cummins Nola Farrell Maria Molloy Tony O’Connor Project Co-ordinators Barbara Davis Lisa Manley




Topics for the preliminary rounds All topics must be presented relative to Positive Mental Health


Everyone is a house with four rooms – physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. The complete person lives in all four.


Hope has the audacity to reach a hand into darkness and come out with a handful of light.


A nation’s mental health depends on team effort.


Everyone and everything around you is your teacher.


Whatever befalls the environment befalls its children.


Empowerment is essential in developing positive mental health.


Technology – devastating if abused but wonderful when put to good use.


In life you can’t stop the waves but you can learn how to surf them.


True education should promote the three R’s….

10. Happiness is the product of the choices we make. 11. Young people know everything, middle aged people suspect everything, old people believe everything. 12. We fear what we do not understand.


Rules and Guidelines for the Public Speaking Project 1.

The project is open to students from SENIOR CLASSES in PostPrimary schools who have not yet reached 19 years of age on 1st January, 2014.


Previous National Final winning team may not enter this year’s project.


One team from each school should be entered. In the event that more than one team would like to participate in the project, the school should run its own internal project to select a team.


Each school should nominate a teacher who will accept responsibility for tutoring its Public Speaking Team.


Teams will consist of 3 members and 1 substitute.


TIMING – Students are strongly recommended to remain within the time limits. Material outside the maximum timeframe will not be considered by adjudicators. Guidelines for timing at different stages of the project are outlined below.


PRELIMINARY rounds ONLY, each team member will be allowed to speak for a recommended minimum of 5 minutes and a maximum of 6 minutes. A bell will ring at the end of 5 minutes as a reminder and again at 6 minutes. REGIONAL rounds onwards, each team member will be allowed to speak for a recommended minimum of 6 minutes and a maximum of 7 minutes. A bell will ring at the end of 6 minutes as a reminder and again at 7 minutes. TOPICS - In the PRELIMINARY rounds a team may select a common topic or each participant may select an individual topic from the list supplied by MHI.



65% of marks will be allocated under Content, which will include material, originality and a clear understanding of the subject by the participants. Content must be relevant to the topic.

35% of marks will be allocated for Presentation which will include structure of material, delivery and rapport with audience, timing and general impression.


PROPS – This is a Public Speaking Project and props are discouraged. Large props are not permitted.

10. Audio, visual and/or computer presentations are not permitted. 11. The use of a podium throughout the project is optional. 12. USE OF PERSONALISED STORIES

The National Public Speaking Project aims to promote awareness among young people of the importance of positive mental health and the causes and effects of mental illness.

We strongly urge sensitivity when dealing with personal mental health issues. Whilst it is acceptable to give personal views and experiences these should be used to highlight a point rather than become the complete focus of an individual or a team’s topic.

13. A majority decision of the adjudicators will take precedence over aggregate of marks. The Adjudicator’s decision is final. 14. Winners at local/county level will participate at Regional level. 15. Winners at Regional level will participate in the National SemiFinals.

For REGIONAL rounds, a team topic must be chosen. If a team had selected individual topics for the preliminary rounds, the team must now select one of these topics, which will be carried through to the National Semi-Finals.

16. National Semi-Final winners will proceed to the National Final.

At REGIONAL level, teams should be aware that they need to develop and expand their chosen topic due to the additional time allowed for each speaker at this level – see Item No. 6 above.

18. Regional Finals will commence on Monday, 13th January 2014.

NATIONAL FINAL - a new topic will be provided for the National Final.

17. Local/County Finals should be completed by Friday, 6th December, 2013.

19. National Semi-Finals will be completed by Friday, 7th March, 2014.

The National Final will be held in the Edmund Burke Theatre, Trinity College, Dublin 2 on Saturday, 5th April 2014 at 4 p.m.


Useful Resources


MENTAL HEALTH IRELAND Mensana House, 2 Marine Terrace, Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin Tel: 01-2841166 Fax: 01-2841736 Email: Website: MHI is a national voluntary organisation with 103 local Mental Health Associations and branches throughout the country. The aims are to actively support people with a mental illness, their families and carers by identifying their needs and advocating their rights and to promote positive mental health. Resources include: Mental Health Matters Resource Pack Online - For information on all aspects of mental health topics and to get in touch with our Development Officers, check out MHI’s website at Al-Anon Alateen Room 5, 5 Capel Street, Dublin 1. 01 8732699 Alcoholics Anonymous Unit 2, Block C, Santry Business Park, Swords Road, Dublin 9. 01 8420700 Anti-Bullying Centre Department of Teacher Education, Room 4048/4049, Arts Building, Trinity College, Dublin 2. 01 8962573 / 01 896 3488 Aware (Depression) 72 Lower Leeson Street, Dublin 2. 01 6617211 BodyWhys – The Eating Disorders Association of Ireland PO Box 105, Blackrock, Co. Dublin. 01 2834963 Locall: 1890 200 444 Barnardos Christchurch Square, Dublin 8. 01 453 0355 Children’s Rights Alliance 31 Molesworth Street, Dublin 2. 01 662 9400

Citizens Information Board Ground Floor, George’s Quay House, 43 Townsend Street, Dublin 2. 0761 079000

Headstrong (Jigsaw Head Office) 16 Westland Square, Pearse Street, Dublin 2. 01 4727010

Console – Living with Suicide Console House 4 Whitethorn Grove, Celbridge, Co. Kildare. 01 6102638

Headway Ireland 1-3 Manor Street Business Park, Shea’s Lane, off Manor Street, Dublin 7. 01 8102066

Department of Health & Children Hawkins House, Hawkins Street, Dublin 2. 01 6354000 Drug Treatment Centre Board McCarthy Centre, 30-31 Pearse Street, Dublin 2. 01 6488600 Dochas – Bereavement Support The Oratory, Blanchardstown Shopping Centre, Dublin 15. 01 8200915 GROW National Office, Barrack St., Kilkenny. 056-7761624

Irish Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy 21 Dublin Road, Bray, Co. Wicklow. 01 2723427 Jigsaw Project Fairgreen Rd., Galway City. 091 549 252 (website of the National Office for Suicide Prevention, HSE) Mental Health Commission St. Martin’s House, Waterloo Road, Dublin 4. 01 6362400


Useful Resources Narcotics Anonymous 29 Bride Street, Dublin 8. 01 6728000 Ombudsman for Children’s Office Millennium House, 52-56 Great Strand St., Dublin 1. 01 8656800 Out And About Association Cork Top Floor, Wilton Park House, Bishopstown, Cork 021-4348728 087-7928579 OCD Ireland

Pieta House Centre for the Prevention of Self-Harm or Suicide, Lucan Road, Lucan, Co. Dublin. 01 6010000 Reach c/o Inspire Ireland Foundation, 1st Floor, 29-31 South William Street, Dublin 2. 01 764 5666 Recovery International Ireland Room 85, Bridge House, Cherry Orchard Hospital, Ballyfermot, Dublin 10. 01 6260775 Samaritans National Office, 4-5 Usher’s Court, Usher’s Quay, Dublin 8. 01 6710071

SeeChange c/o Shine (see below) Shine Supporting People Affected By Mental Ill Health 38 Blessington Street, Dublin 7 01 8601620 Seán MacBride House, 48 Fleet Street, Temple Bar Dublin 2 01 6753554 The Bereavement Counselling Service The Community Hall Main Street Baldoyle Dublin 13 01 8391766

Statistics Amnesty International

01 8638300

Health Research Board 73 Lower Baggott Street, Dublin 2

01 2345000

Irish Association of Suicidology P.O. Box 11634, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4

01 6674900

National Suicide Research Foundation Western Gateway Building, Room 4.28, UCC

021 420 5551

National Office for Suicide Prevention Stewart’s Hospital, Mill Lane, Palmerstown, Dublin 20

01 620 1672

Websites Mental Health Ireland World Federation for Mental Health Mental Health Europe 2013/2014

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