Successful mental health schools’ initiative to go nationwide

Suicide Aware CEO Pat Behan hopes the programme will help foster positive mental health wherever it is implemented.

A successful mental health promotion initiative for schools and clubs which was launched in Cork earlier this year is going nationwide.

Support group, Suicide Aware, confirmed last night that its Amber Flag programme, similar to the Green flag environmental scheme for schools, will now be available around the country following unprecedented demand.

Suicide Aware CEO, Pat Behan, said she hopes the programme will help foster positive mental health wherever it is implemented.

“There is wonderful work going on in schools and clubs on an individual basis,” Ms Behan said. “Amber Flag will acknowledge these efforts and unite all 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 associated with mental health, resulting in individuals seeking help sooner when mental health issues arise.”

She was speaking last night as she prepared for one of the country’s largest mental health promotion initiatives for teenagers which takes place in Cork today and tomorrow.

Up to 1,200 transition year students from all over Cork City will attend the first day of the MentaliTY seminars in City Hall later.

Organised by Suicide Aware and the Institute of Guidance Counsellors (IGC), the event will be hosted by Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr Catherine Clancy.

Students from more than 20 secondary schools will hear from speakers, including a mental health specialist; a sports star; and a person bereaved by suicide.

Workshops will include topics on social media safety, cyber and general bullying, self harm, addiction and depression. There will also be a focus on preventive and coping skills.

Attendance at MentaliTY is also one of the steps on the road to acquire an Amber Flag.

The event will move to County Hall in February, before staging similar events in Dublin and Clare.

* www.suicideaware.ie


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