Hello everyone! My Name is Eden. I’m 19 years old and I have been a member of the DDISS Young Person Advisory Group since June 2021.

I found out about the group through my school’s Twitter page. After having experienced bullying in primary school, as well as a few years prior to joining the group in my local sports club, I really wanted to do something to help tackle the issue and help raise awareness. I must admit that I was really nervous and unsure what to expect before the first meeting as I’d never been part of an advisory group before. However, from the very start I was put at ease. Aoife (DDISS’s Coordinator) and the rest of the young people in the group were very friendly and welcoming so I felt really comfortable with them from the start.

During the first few sessions we discussed the stark poll findings from Anti Bullying Week 2024. These poll findings really did surprise me, especially with the contrast between England and Northern Ireland. This is because although I expected the rates to be higher here, I didn’t expect them to be so much higher than England. As a group we decided to make a video to be shown during Anti-Bullying Week 2021 and also to promote it on social media. A lot of my friends saw the video and were equally as shocked at the statistics.

The theme of Anti-Bullying Week 2021 was ‘One Kind Word’. I really loved this theme and I think it’s so important to have this mindset all the time as kindness fuels kindness. During Anti-Bullying Week the group created the launch video at the start of the week which was live-streamed at a special anti-bullying event.

We also helped to judge the Creative Arts Competition which was definitely one of my highlights. Everyone’s art was so impressive it made it hard to pick a winner! The group also got involved with campaigning during the week on social media and personally my inner childhood self was so excited to have Andy Day comment that he liked my rainbow socks on Odd Socks Day!

We also got the opportunity to speak to lots of important people in order to share with them the work that DDISS was doing and inform them about how they can help us spread awareness during Anti-Bullying Week. We met with former MLA Chris Lyttle and the mental health champion for UKProfessor Siobhan O’Neill. I was nervous presenting our ideas to them, but they were really nice and willing to help which put everyone’s nerves at ease.

I also got the opportunity to help design the logo for Anti-Bullying Week 2022 which had the theme ‘Reach out’. The group also came up with some quotes to share on social media about the importance of reaching out to someone you trust and hopefully provided others with reassurance that they aren’t alone and there is someone they can reach out to.

Overall, I’ve really enjoyed being part of the group. I always really look forward to the meetings, and although we get some great work done, Aoife and Luke (DDISS’s Project Assistant) always make them a lot of fun. I’ve made some amazing new friends and I’m really looking forward to meeting everyone in person very soon!

One of the first games we played I said that my biggest fear would be public speaking - but I’ve definitely grown in confidence over the last year thanks to the opportunities I’ve had. As such, public speaking is not so much of a worry anymore. If you ever get an opportunity to get involved with a group like this and are a bit nervous about joining, then my advice would be to go for it! Trust me, you won’t look back!