St. Patrick’s Secondary School pupils are getting ready for their Mental Health Awareness Week which will begin on the coming Monday, December 14th and a number of events have been planned for the duration.
This awareness week is part of the school’s Amber Flag Initiative which was launched earlier in the year. Planned activities over the course of next week include: Pedal for Pieta House; Penalty Shoot-outs; A Smoothie Sale and a Positive Mental Health Quiz for first and second year’s.
Radio Kerry Just a Thought
During the week also, five of St. Patrick’s students will be on Radio Kerry’s Just a Thought each morning at 7.30 to convey a positive message for the day. The week is being organised by third year students supported by their teacher Ms. Collins.
Other initiatives that the students have undertaken include designing a notice board which is located in a central area in the school. The students came up with the idea of a tree for the mural which would contain positive words as the leaves. They also came up with a St. Patrick’s Positive Mental Health Mascot, Ollie the Owl a symbol which is unique to the school.
The notice board will display notices, positive messages, news and general information on issues relating to positive mental health and well-being along with details of all available student supports.
The third year students also established a mentoring system. In this, a senior student will mentor a first year student to help make that transition from primary to secondary school smoother.
The senior student acts as a great support and confidant for the younger pupil. At the moment the students are meeting on a weekly basis and the system is working very well.
Health and Well-being
It is hoped that through the process of completing these tasks the students will be facilitated to become more educated and aware of the strategies that they can develop to improve their own health and well-being.
Also that they may, perhaps, begin to talk more freely about their own mental and emotional health and that they may become more aware of the supports that are available to them.
Reduce Taboo or Stigma
“The overall aim of the programme is to reduce the taboo or stigma attached to mental health issues which can affect all of us at some time or another. Suicide Aware hopes that in developing an environment of openness and support students are encouraged ‘talk, connect and share’ thus making discussion about mental health part of our everyday conversation,” said St. Patrick’s Principal Denis O’Donovan.