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When Dan and Michal wanted to start off Da Silly Heads they called on the Social Care groups to help them out for their debut event, they showed us their very exclusive at the time, bobble hat and I remember thinking what a cool idea it was to have a little message on a fun warm hat that subtly shows solidarity for mental health. I wanted to have one so bad.

Fast forward to the following semester and sure enough they launched their first line of silly bobble hats to the student body to buy, I had to buy the pink one with the black bobble and I along with many other CIT students wore it proudly. When I got home to show it off my dad loved it more than I expected and when I explained what the bobble hat represented he didn’t hesitate to ask me to buy another one for him to wear too, I chose the black hat for him and he would wear it to work every morning  in the cold months. Since his hat had the bright pink bobble hat, he was asked on multiple occasions what the logo on the hat was and he explained it to everyone asking.

And not only was Da Silly Heads mental health advocacy message spilling into my dads work and my own co-workers in retail,  it also made its way around UCC when my sister asked to wear the hat every so often. She also told her friends in her college about Da Silly Heads when they’d ask her where the cool pink hat was from.

I think that’s exactly what the hats were supposed to do, spark a conversation, anyone who crossed mine, my dads or my sisters path now knows  in a quite way that the wearer has a “stigma free head” in regards to mental health and from experience with close friends, can provide anything from a conversation starter to an indicator that the wearer is someone who won’t judge another’s mental health struggles if they want to talk to someone.

I’ll be wearing my bobble hat again this autumn and winter and I look forward to spotting them in public too!

Naoise O’Shea – Social Care Work Graduate 2020

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