Last month at Laois Education Centre, Minister Ciarán Cannon, TD, officially launched a national Initiative which aims to involve post–primary school teachers nationwide, across all sectors, in an ‘awareness raising programme’ on the issue of teenage mental health.
Funded by One Foundation, this awareness Initiative is facilitated and managed by the Association of Teachers’/ Education Centres in Ireland (ATECI) supported by Headstrong, the National Centre for Youth Mental Health.
Mr Jim Enright, director of the Laois Education Centre, outlined the training model which he described as a cascade model.
Each centre in the network of education centres recruited and nominated three teachers to train as lead facilitators, giving a total of over 60 lead facilitators nationwide. Strategically located, these lead facilitators will be responsible to deliver an awareness programme for post primary teachers at local level in education centres.
These newly trained post primary teachers selected in accordance with strict criteria will become Mental Health Promoters in local education centres throughout the country. Lead facilitators in collaboration with Mental Health Promoters will introduce the initiative to whole school staffs, thereby building the capacity of every teacher to take a certain responsibility in the promotion of positive mental health in the schools.
Minister Cannon congratulated and wished all involved success in the training and delivery of this support to teachers and said the initiative will go some significant way towards promoting awareness of a positive approach to student mental health and a sense of collective well-being in schools.