The staff and students of St. Patrick’s Secondary School, Castleisland have taken on the task of promoting positive mental health in the school by becoming involved in the Amber Flag Initiative.
The Amber Flag Initiative aims to encourage schools, societies and clubs to promote and actively bring about a cultural change in the promotion of positive mental health within the educational system and other organisations.
The initiative will enhance the already good work that is being done where mental health is concerned by making positive mental health a daily topic of conversation. This will lead to a cultural shift where the topic becomes the norm and will lead to the breakdown of the stigma that is associated with mental health. The expected result is in individuals seeking help sooner when mental issues arise.
“By working towards and achieving the Amber Flag, mental health will become recognised as a central programme of activity in our school and promoting mental health and well- being for all will be a daily part of school life and activities.
The third year students of the school will be the school’s Amber Flag team,” said their guide and teacher, Ms. Collins.
“The team will identify three tasks for the year that will enhance the educational provision of mental health promotion in the school. A mental health awareness day will be one of the three tasks. They will also work with outside agencies such as Pieta House, Aware, The Samaritans and Jig-Saw Kerry.
“At the end of the school year a presentation of the Amber Flag will take place and from then on the flag will be flown outside the school where it will convey the caring ethos of our school and the importance it place on mental health.
“This is a very worthwhile initiative for our school and it will grow and develop in the coming years and we hope that the Amber Flag will help to connect and reconnect people in making a real effort to reduce stigma and improve support and help-seeking behaviour among young people and adults. We would encourage other sectors of the community to come on board with us in this initiative and take control of mental health,” said Ms. Collins.