cailíní secret

'You are not alone': Irish women in London have been anonymously sharing their secrets

2,000 blank postcards were sent to Irish women across London to take part in the project.

A PROJECT THAT encouraged Irish women living in London to get things off their chest in the form of blank postcards is set to be the focus of a new book.

secrets Irish women in London have been sharing their personal feelings for the book. Cailíní Secret Cailíní Secret

Cailíní Secret will be launched next week at an exhibition at the London Irish Centre in Camden, north London.

The book will feature the confessions of women, which include personal feelings of memories, regrets and desires, as part of a project aimed at supporting Irish women who are experiencing mental and emotional distress.

It was inspired by Frank Warren, who devised the PostSecret concept which started in 2005, and was built on the premise that completely anonymous people can reveal a secret they had previously never revealed on a postcard.

cailini secret Cailíní Secret Cailíní Secret

As part of this initiative, 2,000 blank postcards were sent to Irish women across London, who were then asked to reveal their secrets anonymously.

Funded by the Camden Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), it was designed to support women who may not access mental health supports until they reach a crisis.

Gary Dunne, from the London Irish Centre, told that they were approached by the CCG, as their research had found that Irish women, in particular, were not accessing mental health services in the area until they reach this crisis point.

“We were able to reach the Irish community in a way they couldn’t,” he said. “Our role is connecting with the people in the area, and we managed to do that very well here”.

cailini secret 3 Cailíní Secret Cailíní Secret

Volunteer and London-based Irish woman Aoife Clements said: “Cailíní Secret was created by Irish women for Irish women.

We understand that one of our strengths – our endurance and ability to get on with things without making a fuss – can also be a weakness. In times of unhappiness, distress or life difficulty, many of us conceal our struggles instead of seeking support

cailini secret 2 Cailíni Secret Cailíni Secret

Dr Jonathan Levy, a Camden-based GP and the mental health lead for the CCG, said: “This book is just one part of a campaign to support Irish women, particularly those in London who are experiencing emotional or mental distress.

Through sharing secrets, we want women to know they are not alone.

Dunne added that, although the postcards are a “light intervention”, there was something “very powerful” about seeing all these messages together.

cailini secret 4

Dr Levy said that Cailíní Secret was “another innovative way we are working with different communities to increase awareness and reduce stigma around mental illness.”

The book will be launched at 2pm on St Brigid’s Day (1 February) at the London Irish Centre in Camden.

Read: Irish in London: ‘Brexit and Trump made me feel less welcome in the UK’

Read: Here’s what it’s like being Irish and in London for Christmas

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