The school setting
Currently Mental Health Ireland are evaluating our offerings in schools and exploring new developments for students, teachers and parents that will best support schools in implementing a whole school approach to mental health and wellbeing. We hope to have these offerings available in the near future. In the meantime, please see the overview below of current work in this area and how you can feel better equipped to implement a whole school approach to mental health and wellbeing at your school.
Mental Health Ireland supports best practice in mental health promotion and aim to align to, and strengthen the structures already in place in schools. In 2018, Mental Health Ireland were delighted to see excellent advancements in this area with the announcement of new wellbeing guidelines for the junior cycle, from the Department of Education and Skills and the release of a wellbeing policy for schools.
A national roll-out of the MindOut training for the schools and youth sector was also announced. This Irish programme which has been developed by the Health Promotion Research Centre at NUI Galway and the HSE’s Health Promotion and Improvement Department, has been proven to strengthen young peoples’ social and emotional coping skills and improve their overall mental health and wellbeing.
- Teachers can register for MindOut Training on www.sphe.ie
- Youthworkers can register for MindOut Training on www.nyci.ie
When promoting positive mental health and wellbeing at your school the evidence would suggest adopting a Whole Schools Approach. Some examples of initiatives your school could lead on include:
Five Ways to Wellbeing challenge
- Ask students and staff to take a different action area each day/week/month in the school.
- Encourage and facilitate students/staff to take ownership of what this might look like in your school setting –
- More information on what each action area looks like
- You can order literature on the Five ways (Leaflet/bookmark) by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org . There are lots of ideas within each action area that the students get involved with that will raise their awareness of mental health and also look after their own mental health.
School Notice Board:
- Students can highlight positive mental health messages across the school –
- Five Ways to Wellbeing, Healthy Eating messages, Anti Bullying. etc. It would be useful to include where to go should someone need support on all public displays – GP, Guidance counsellor, parent, www.yourmentalhealth.ie.
Ensure all your policies in this area are up to date – i.e. Anti Bullying, Wellbeing policy.
Should your school require outside agencies/experts to support in the learning, it is advised to follow best practice guidelines for visitors attending the school. https://www.education.ie/en/Circulars-and-Forms/Active-Circulars/cl0043_2018.pdf. Schools are advised that careful planning is essential in accessing external supports, particularly in relation to topics of a sensitive nature, such as mental health and suicide.
Other awareness raising projects carried out at Mental Health Ireland can be found here