The main concourse of the school was awash with forty shades of amber this morning for the launch of the school’s application for the AMBER FLAG…
The ‘Amber Flag’ project is similar to ‘Green Schools’ where a school must promote the values of the flag, with Amber symbolising Mental Health. Clongowes already does a huge amount of work in promoting positive mental health and attaining this flag will signify our positive approach towards Mental Health Awareness. We have established an Amber Flag committee team comprising staff and student representatives to drive this initiative and are currently carrying out an audit of the existing activities that promote the cause and which will help identify three goals / tasks as the challenge for the year ahead.
We have confirmed the following two of our three goals:
- A Mental Health Awareness day to be held the first week back after Christmas
- An Amber Flag noticeboard, which may be seen outside the Ethos Office
Mental health – why bother?
It is recognised that positive mental health and well-being enables young people to lead a more fulfilling life. Home and family are recognised as the primary source of nurturing and support, however, mental health and well-being are everyone’s concern and involve the whole school community including parents/guardians and others involved in the day to day life of the school. It is from this rationale that the whole world of ‘well being’ was born.
A person’s mental health cannot be seen and there is still a significant stigma attached to discussing mental health problems. We all have a brain and, therefore, a mental health and statistics tell us that one in four people experience a mental illness each year. What if we gave consideration to how we might make lifestyle choices, and create an environment and society which is conducive to good mental health?
One of the key ingredients for promoting positive mental health is the need for the spiritual. But – as visiting speaker Finola Kennedy recently noted, spirituality is no guarantee of mental health – however it can help. So this morning, as we paused in a moment of prayer, stopping to connect with something much greater than ourselves, we prayed for all who battle with their mental health on a daily basis. We especially remembered all in the healthcare profession, voluntary and non-voluntary, who help those battling with mental health.
We asked for God’s blessing and those of his servants his servants St. Ignatius and Blessed John Sullivan on our Amber Flag project for the year ahead and on all who are and will be involved. May the work being done to further this cause and the work already done outside of the project continue to enable our students and staff to leading more fulfilling lives.
Ms Anne Marie Dolan