Mercy Secondary School Ballymahon
Mercy Secondary School, Ballymahon
The students at Mercy Secondary School, Ballymahon, Co. Longford managed to fit a lot into their mental health week.
Mental health awareness week
Positive thoughts for each day were read over the intercom. Students were also invited to choose positive music, which was played at break-times and at one point there was even a flash mob! There were seminars and talks on mental health with key messaging including the ‘five a day for positive mental health’ and that we all have mental health so we need to look after it.
Random acts of kindness
Random acts of kindness were encouraged during the week and transition year students gifted of a lolly pop to students and staff as a thank you for their involvement in fundraising for the Walk in My Shoes charity. Pupils and teachers wore bizarre footwear, from wellies to flippers, raising €1,000 in the process.
It was a super successful week and the school charted the success of the changing responses of their students. At the beginning of the week students were asked to list words that came to mind when thinking about Mental Health. The suggestions all had negative associations, but by the end of the week students realised everyone has mental health and that it’s on a spectrum, moving between good and poor.
The week successfully worked towards reducing the stigma of mental health, hopefully resulting in individuals seeking help sooner if mental health problems arise.
All year long
Outside of mental health awareness week the school run a number of positive mental health events and programmes. They have a full-time guidance counsellor; sports teams; an oratory; host a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender awareness week; host a cyber-safety week; host an anti-bullying week; have a school mentoring programme and an annual school walk.