Coláiste Íosagain raised their Amber Flag for positive mental health last week, marking three years of effort spearheaded by students James Watson and Bethan O’Connor.
The two attended a weeklong course on positive mental health in St Patrick’s University Hospital, Dublin in 2012, and from then, worked to make it part and parcel of their school.
This year along with Ms Margaret Nolan TY co-ordinator and Mr D Carter and a willing cohort of students, they undertook the task of achieving an Amber Flag.
Four goals had to be reached. A positive mental health notice board was created by students Georgia Murray-Leech, Rachel Bryan, Rebecca Hogan, Katie Lawlor and Róisín Fenlon.
Top ten songs to dispel winter blues and promote a feelgood atmosphere were voted on, organised by Georgia, Rachel, Rebecca and Katie, along with Orla Mullally, Rachel Flanagan, Luke McCloskey, and Ciara O’Donnell.
Their third task involved a Positive Mental Health Awareness day, enjoyed by the whole school.
Róisín who attended the education programme in St Pat’s this year, gave a talk to students that had a powerful impact.
Mr Carter spoke about suicide and Ms C Browne and her LCA students explained their ‘Help Is At Hand’ campaign, created for their Social Education Task. It offers mental health information in public places to students who may be feeling down. In the shape of a hand, it advises them to turn to someone they trust. It reiterates the Cycle Against Suicide motto ‘it’s ok not to feel ok, and it is absolutely ok to ask for help’.
First years enjoyed a debating competition while every student heard a talk from Childwatch on online safety. The day ended with teacher Mr MacGearailt shaving off his beard for Console.
Ms Nolan hopes the flag, proudly installed at the school, will remind students to seek help if they are in need.
“Coláiste Íosagáin strives to be a community where everyone is safe and where everyone knows how to access help in the event of them not feeling ok,” she said.