Scoil Mhuire gan Smal, Blarney, promote Amber Flag

Amber flag 10157393_744675782230082_805668210_n, brought great life to The Square in Blarney last month when a flash mob sprang to life to promote the schools quest for an Amber Flag. The Amber Flag is an initiative by Suicide Aware to promote positive mental health in schools, youth clubs and sporting organisations. Scoil Mhuire Gan Smál has signed up to this initiative and a team, which includes parents and teachers as well as 5th year students; Aoife Cotter, Kayleigh Cronin, Lauren Lehane and Austin O’Neill, has been meeting regularly since last October to improve the promotion of positive mental health within the school. As part of that promotion, they organised an ‘Amber Flag – Promoting Positive Mental Health Week’ from 24th – 28th March, which ran in conjunction with Health Week – Promoting Healthy Eating and Exercise During the week the team organised talks for every year group from Nollaig McSweeney, a Mental Health Nurse with CHAMS; and Eddie Kelleher and a team from Riverstick Foroigewho came in to speak to all Junior Cycle students. Mindfulness with Jason Cowell was also organised for all students in the school. A ‘Walk in My Shoes’ fundraiser, to partially finance the events, was also held. Notices have been placed on the back of every toilet door in the school providing helpline numbers and encouraging anyone experiencing difficulty to talk to an adult. There is also an Amber Flag notice board just inside the student entrance to the school, which aims to updates students of activities promoting positive mental health. This notice board also includes lovely thoughts and sayings. Other activities that the committee organised during the year were TY participation in the MentaliTY programme in City Hall in October, Beat the Blues Programme for all senior cycles students in November and March, and fundraising for AWARE. All students and their parents should be aware that Scoil Mhuire Gan Smal has retained a full time Professional Guidance Counsellor, even though the government cut the allocation of ex-quota Guidance in the December 2012 budget. The Guidance Service includes personal counselling, which is free and confidential to all students.