Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland Coláiste Ríoga na Máinleá in Éirinn

Minister Helen McEntee launches RCSI colouring book for young people to explore the brain and mental health

06 October 2016

Minister Helen McEntee unveils ‘journey through the brain' to spark interest in the science of the brain and its connection to human emotion, mental health and well-being. 

Minister for Mental Health and Older People, Helen McEntee TD, launches a colouring book at RCSI (Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland) today which promotes young people to talk about mental health and the brain. The colouring book entitled ‘journey through the brain', which deals with the brain and its relationship with mental health in an accessible manner, will be launched at RCSI this morning by the Minister for Mental Health and Older People.

Funded by the Health Research Board, the colouring book has been developed with the purpose of sparking young people's interest in the science of the brain and its connection to human emotion, mental health and well-being. Created by researchers from the RCSI Department of Psychiatry the colouring book has been developed to share what the researchers have learned about the brain and aims to bring the mysterious world of the brain to life.

Professor David Cotter, RCSI Department of Psychiatry, said "‘journey through the brain' is fundamentally a fun, educational book that aims to teach young people how the brain works. This in turn will help them to understand the science behind their emotions. Through this book we want to help young people to understand the workings of the brain through pictures and cartoons. I hope it will inspire young people to enjoy science''.

The book was illustrated by Dr Eoin Kelleher who is a doctor and illustrator, who studied medicine at RCSI (Class of 2014). Speaking about the project, Dr Kelleher said "it is not often you get an opportunity to combine your hobby and your profession. The brain is a fascinating organ and often it can be difficult to match understanding of how it works and the end product such as consciousness or mental health. This colouring book gives young people that opportunity".

 Dr. Eoin Kelleher, illustrator of 'jounrey through the brain' with TY students from Santa Sabina Dominican College, Sutton

Speaking at the launch event, Professor Cathal Kelly, CEO/Registrar RCSI, stated "'journey through the brain' is an innovative new initiative to help young people to understand important issues about the biology of the brain and its connection to emotion and mental health. It outlines key information about the brain in short and simple language making the content of the book accessible to a wide audience. I congratulate the RCSI Department of Psychiatry for this creative publication which I hope will prove a valuable resource to teachers and their students in tackling important questions about mental health in the classroom." 

‘journey through the brain' can easily be used at school in a classroom environment by teachers or at home by young people themselves. The act of colouring can have beneficial effects on people's sense of well-being. It can induce a state of calmness and mindfulness.

‘journey through the brain' does a number of things:

  • It outlines key research findings about the brain in short and simple language, ensuring it is accessible to all second-level students
  • Through art, it illustrates some important aspects of the brain using visual images to represent complex structures, mechanisms, and connections within the brain
  • As an interactive book, students are encouraged to colour in the pictures, engaging them to think creatively about the brain


Dr Graham Love, Chief Executive at the Health Research Board (HRB) said, "This colouring book shows that research and creativity do go hand-in-hand. The purpose of our KEDS awards is to share research with a wider audience and apply new learning in practice - the journey through the brain book has achieved this magnificently."

The book will be available to download from the RCSI website ( and copies will be distributed to second level schools throughout Ireland.