Staff and pupils of Carrickfergus Grammar School have embraced lessons on emotional wellbeing with the assistance of South Antrim Community Network (SACN).
With funding from the Public Health Agency, SACN has co-ordinated an emotional wellbeing initiative for the school which engaged with the Network back in August 2016 to access additional support and guidance. Following an initial meet and greet an ‘Emotional Wellbeing Action Plan’ was created to devise an all school approach to raising awareness of the ‘Take 5 Steps to Wellbeing’.
SACN organised a series of activities, including an awareness raising Take 5 Workshop for staff followed by awareness sessions for pupils, a self-care session for staff and various focus groups with the pupils.
A bespoke, Carrickfergus Grammar School ‘Take 5’ Flyer was devised and printed alongside wristbands which carried the www.mindingyourhead.info information. These resources were devised by staff, pupils and SACN to promote the school’s commitment to emotional wellbeing and tje flyer was distributed to pupils’ parents and guardians via post whilst the
wristbands were given to pupils at the school’s celebration event in October coordinated by CGS, SACN and
Learning Works and supported by the Upper sixth pupils
A spokesperson for SACN stated: “This was an extremely successful event, following on from various other interventions within the school. The engagement was phenomenal; we had the opportunity to engage 800-plus pupils and school staff.
“The event focussed on creative mediums to engage the young people such as a healthy cooking demonstration, a creative ‘art for wellbeing’session produced an inclusive school Take 5 mural, a silent disco for meditation, a friendly hula hoop challenge and team games, auricular acupuncture interventions, and various other engagement activities.
Learning Works Director, Julie Humphries, who was jointly involved in coordinating the celebration event, said: “Pupils connected with their peers, they learnt how they could use their skills in a combined effort, they were certainly active throughout the event, they were able to take notice of how valuable their skills development contributed to the event success and they willingly gave of their time throughout the entire process”.
TSouth Antrim Community Network is commissioned by Public Health Agency to increase community involvement in suicide prevention and promote general health and wellbeing.
Janine Gaston, Suicide Prevention Development Officer, said: “When I first engaged with Carrickfergus Grammar School I soon realised they had a drive and passion for emotional wellbeing for both their pupils and staff. It has been a pleasure to coordinate this action plan and various initiatives alongside the schools Head of Pastoral Care and others, the pupils’ engagement has been astounding and the feedback from them, parents, staff and local service providers showcases the school’s accomplishments thus far”.
Head of Pastoral Care, Lesley Kane, added: “SACN’s support has been invaluable in helping us identify and facilitate suitable training for pastoral staff and in planning a whole school event to promote the Take 5 message. Their commitment to the project and willingness to support us as a school community in pushing this message forward has been commendable.”