In the morning, spinning bikes were set up in the canteen. There were sweets, drinks and stickers set up on a table beside the bikes for the people taking part. There was also face painting available for the people taking part and the members of the committee. Orange balloons were released outside whilst our chaplin said a few words about what the balloons symbolised in regards to everyday worries and stresses and mental health. Orange balloons were put up around the school with inspirational quotes like “#ShareTheJourney”, “LoretoMilford” and “Cycle Against Suicide”. Music was played in the canteen throughout the day to motivate everyone. And the end of the day, over €800 was raised to support North West Pieta House.
- Coinciding with the Irish week of mental health awareness, Loreto Community School Milford organised their biggest yet mental health week with a wide range of activities taking place throughout the week based on five key points of mental health: connect, give, be active, keep learning and take notice. The importance of mental wellbeing has only recently been taken note of and is now of growing concern especially among teenagers. The week of mental health is a way of teaching teenagers how to mind their mental health in a fun, intuitive and simple way.
The week worked on a rotation system with each year group taking part in a different activity every day. The five activities were kindness kits, colouring activities, tea and talk, skipathon and how to tie a tie. The kindness kits contained three sweets, a plaster, a smiley face a sheet of paper to write a compliment about someone on and a contents sheet describing how to use the kit. Each of the items were given to a different classmate or friend to show their appreciation of them. They were a great success in every year group and reminded students that giving is key to mental health.
The colouring activities representing “take notice” were also a fantastic success with many of the students completed pieces on display around the school. The “tea and talk” represented connect and saw over a hundred students from each year group converge in the canteen throughout the week. Here they were served tea and biscuits and enjoyed a chat with their friends. A skipathon took place in the gym where each year took part in a skipping marathon. Each skip was equivalent to a metre up a mountain. Teams of 4 or 5 students competed to see who could climb the highest mountain in the thirty five minutes. This activity was very popular among even the non sporty students and conveyed that staying active does not require a sport.
The skill “How to tie a tie” that every student needs, was received well and was taught via a youtube video with easy to follow steps. Also for mental health week, many inspirational kindness quotes were on show around the school as well as pledges of kindness which were signed by every student in the school and put on display in the reception area. The week came to a conclusion with an inspirational talk by __ about mental health to the leaving certificate students. Overall, the week was a fantastic success and lived up to the expectations which the health promoting schools and mental health committees had hoped for.