Well-Being and Health Promotion
WELLBEING POLICY – MERCY MOUNTHAWK
Through a process of consultation with staff, parents and students over 2017/18, the school has developed a WELLBEING policy which explains the approach to promoting wellbeing that is adopted in Mercy Mounthawk. Please read the policy here: Mercy Mounthawk WELLBEING Policy RATIFIED 25 Feb 2019
The Wellbeing programme in Mercy Mounthawk has a curriculur element which is delivered through SPHE/RSE class (Needs Correct Link) and PE classes. If you would like to see further information on these subject programmes please follow the links.
There is also a very important extra-curricular and co-curricular programme in the school which supports student WELLBEING. We have a dynamic Health Promotion committee which runs two health promotion weeks each year focusing on various aspects of health expecially mental health and exercise. We also have a significant emphasis on the promotion of Mental Health in the school and again there is a vibrant group of students, teachers and parents involved in this project.
The Amber Flag Award for Positive Mental Health May 2018
The Amber Flag was presented to Mercy Secondary School Mounthawk recognising our individual efforts to create a healthy, inclusive school environment that supports mental wellbeing. The Pieta House Amber Flag initiative, now in its 4th year, recognises the individual efforts of schools, companies, and groups to create healthy, inclusive environments that support mental wellbeing. All groups receiving the Pieta House Amber Flag qualified for the award by hosting a mental health awareness event, a fundraiser, and a mental health initiative.
The programme encourages teamwork and student contributions, and works with school guidance counsellors to include a peer-support element.What the Amber Flag will do is acknowledge these efforts and unite all schools/clubs/societies/community groups in the promotion of “Positive Mental Health”.
It becomes a daily topic of conversation leading to a cultural shift where mental health becomes “The Norm” leading to the breaking down of “Stigma” that is associated with mental health, resulting in individuals seeking help sooner, when mental health issues arise.
Positive Mental Health aims to:
- Promote mental health and well-being for all.
- Prevent mental health problems through increasing awareness, social
support, reducing risk factors such as racism, bullying and isolation.
- Improving quality of life for students/people with mental health
problems by promoting recovery through awareness and education
For more details on Pieta’House’s Amber Flag initiative click here. The culture shift in Mental Health can only become the norm when challenges like achieving the Amber Flag become recognised as a central programme of activity in schools/clubs and associations.
Mental Health Week aims to promote awareness of mental wellness issues for young people. The school provides extensive support to our pupils through the Pastoral Care Team and guidance counsellors. This is part of an overall health promotion strategy in the school following on from a HSE Award in recognising Mercy Mounthawk as a health promoting school.
Mental health promotion is about increasing people’s resilience and ability to cope with life’s stresses by developing their general life skills and identifying and using positive ways of coping.
Events featured have included:
- The formation of a Human Rainbow by the entire student body as a symbol of hope (See gallery below)
- A drama by Humourfit Drama Company on bullying.
- Talks on mental wellness delivered by Kerry Life Education.
- a workshop for first years given by The Graffiti Theatre Company
- a Youth Forum for second years organised and run by fourth and fifth year students
- a Stress and Relaxation talk to fifth and sixth years
- a Nutritional Therapist spoke to sixth years on the importance of diet in creating optimum health
- During all Health Promotion Weeks the school canteen offer special deals on healthy meals options, reducing the prices significantly which is a great support for the promotion of a balanced healthy diet.
Health Promotion at Mercy Mounthawk is and will always be of highest priority and great importance on our agenda. Along with pastoral care, wellbeing, PE and SEN official systems running in the school, Mounthawk hosts two Health Promotion Weeks every academic year, offering a very diverse range of events to all students throughout the whole school. The ethos of the Health Promotion Committee is to enable students to participate in all events, encouraging focus on physical and mental health and emphasising how equally important every individual student in the school is. All events and activities are free, encouraging full participation.
The Health Promotion Committee includes approximately ten teachers of various subjects, management, students from Student Council, COSI (Centre of Social Innovation) and YSI (Young Social Innovators) and various outside agencies including Health and Leisure faculty Tralee IT, Kerry Life Education, Aware, Jigsaw etc. The Committee enjoys input from all areas and gives particular importance to student voice. Meetings are held regularly to communicate ideas clearly and organise activities which are requested by the students and equally are felt to be beneficial and supportive to student development.
Cycle Against Suicide
The Cycle Against Suicide is a national awareness event that strives to break down barriers around mental health issues and works to increase awareness of the supports and treatments that are available to empower those affected. With Mercy Mounthawk having participated in CAS four years previously, certain students were eager to once again brace the roads with compatriots from around Ireland and beyond.
A team of 4th and 5th years was assembled to cycle out to the Cycle Against Suicide convoy and bring them into the school in style. With clear skies opening up for the entry, cyclists were greeted with rousing cheers and colourful banners, not to mention much needed food!
Entertainment provided by the students of Mercy Mounthawk filled the sports hall as the choral, YSI and musical groups all contributed to an enjoyable afternoon. The communal spirit of the school was on great display as students from all year groups played their parts to support this cause both on and off the road.
Finally the Mounthawk group led the Cycle against Suicide out of Tralee and on to the next stage of their trip across the country. An insightful day finished with all those involved feeling fulfilled, enlightened, not to mention tired!
You may see our TY produced Cycle Against Suicide project video here.