Rugby star Simon Zebo is swapping drop goals for dropping rhymes by giving his backing to a rap track aimed at raising awareness around mental health.

The Munster player will be on hand today to help a Cork group launch ‘Reach Out Speak Out’ — a song with a message on the importance of speaking out and seeking help for mental health issues.

The tune is the brainchild of teenagers who are part of the Mayfield Local Drugs and Alcohol Task Force (LDATF) Project.

Foróige’s Deirdre Dennigan, a youth officer with the task force, said the group approached her with the idea following their concerns about the rates of teenage bullying, anxiety, depression and suicide. 

The group approached Garry McCarthy from GMCBeats Workshops for his expertise and wrote the song themselves.

“Since then a lot has happened,” Ms Dennigan said.

“The rap group made up of Trisha Sexton, 14, Paul Woods, 17, and Shane Keane, 20, not only wrote a rap, they made an accompanying video both of which hold very powerful and touching messages from teens to teens and the wider community about the importance of reaching out and speaking out about mental health.”

The three-minute rap encourages teens to speak out as “you never know what’s going on in someone else’s head”. 

It also tackles the issues of bullying on social media and loneliness.

“Two members of the group designed a peer education workshop and ran it off with three classes of second years in St Patrick’s College a few weeks ago,” said Ms Dennigan. 

“Trisha Sexton and Megan Kelleher made some very cool art pieces with Tom in Mayfield Arts Centre highlighting some of the key messages from the rap. They shared the rap and video and discussed the messages within it with their classmates. 

"They finished up by discussing the help that is available from the Foróige Projects in Mayfield and across the city and county and also informed them of”

The rap, video and peer education piece were entered into Foróige’s National Citizenship Awards last month, and won the ‘Ones To Watch’ accolade.

The rap will be launched by Zebo today at 2.30pm in Mayfield Library, at the Music Mash Up event run as part of the Music Generation Mayhum Festival.

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