Launch of 4U magazine as part of fight against suicide

The launch of ‘4U’, a magazine aimed at young people which is inspired by the suicide rate in this area, was officially launched by comedian Joe Rooney in Gleeson’s Townhouse, Roscommon on Friday night last.    The glossy 48-page magazine, which will be distributed to secondary schools in the region from next week, was produced by Roscommon Lions Club. There are plans to produce three further issues of 4U during the current school term.    The magazine addresses mental health related issues and publishes helplines but also contains articles and photographs on sport, music, celebrity issues, etc.    The first issue is available free and is targeted at boys and girls of secondary school age. The magazine will be distributed free of charge to local schools, youth clubs and selected outlets. A nominal charge will apply for future issues.    The magazine was produced by an editorial board consisting of members of Roscommon Lions Club’s Suicide Awareness & Prevention Sub-Committee and volunteer students from local schools.    Performing the launch on Friday night, actor and comedian Joe Rooney said that the magazine in question was of exceptional quality and the initative was a most worthy one. He wished it every success.    The formal proceedings began when Paul Healy, chairperson of Roscommon Lions Club Suicide Awareness Committee, and Editor of the Editorial Board,  outlined the background to the project, stating that about two years ago Roscommon Lions Club had set up a sub-committee which was given responsibility for setting in motion a suicide prevention campaign.    The campaign has largely concentrated on the facilitation of ASIST training and the school magazine project.   Mr. Healy said that consultation with the schools had revealed that there was very little on offer for young males in the area of school magazines with local content. It was felt that there was a void and that the Lions Club could perhaps produce a magazine which would appeal to young males and also address, in a subtle and sensitive way, issues relating to mental health. He explained that it is established that young males are most at risk from suicide. However it was subsequently decided to change the magazine content to one that will appeal to both boys and girls.    Outlining that consultations had taken place with school representatives, health professionals and other agencies, Mr. Healy said that the school magazine project had moved to a new phase over recent months with the appointment of an editorial board to oversee the planning and production stage.    The title ‘4U’ had been chosen because it was felt this was an inclusive label, one that would appeal to young people and which reflected what the editorial board were trying to do, that is produce a magazine for young people, one that they could identify with and contribute to.    He said that the Lions Club would be delighted to accept articles, photographs and suggestions from students across the region (for future editions) and also invited anyone who would like to be on the editorial board to make contact.    He wished to pay tribute to his colleagues on the editorial board, PJ Naughten, Sinead Fallon, Kathleen Shanagher and Evelyn Killeen. They in turn had been joined by four students, namely Rebecca Clapison and Rhys Reynolds from Roscommon Community College and Patrick Gill and Jonathan Keane from Lanesboro Community College. Mr. Healy said that the students had worked extremely hard and given great time and effort to the project. He wished to thank them and acknowledge the support of their families and teachers.