A Carrickfergus school has voiced its support for a mental health education programme that has received a substantial funding boost.
Danske Bank has worked with its charity partner Action Mental Health since 2017 to raise awareness of mental health and money for the charity’s Healthy Me programme, which aims to positively promote mental health and social and emotional wellbeing in 8 to 11-year-olds.
To date, the bank’s fundraising efforts have raised £130,000 for the charity. This means it was able to bring Healthy Me to 1,928 children and 374 adults in 2018 and will reach a further 1,375 children and 195 teachers and parents this year.
One of the schools to benefit last year was Oakfield Primary School in Carrickfergus.
Vicky Logan, a P6 teacher at the school, said: “We found the session with Action Mental Health incredibly valuable. Mental health issues can affect the youngest to the oldest in society but as adults we have better tools to cope with it.
“Healthy Me will have taught the pupils some important skills that they will be able to carry with them throughout their lives.”
The announcement comes during Children’s Mental Health Week (4 to 10 February).
Aisling Press, head of Branch Banking at Danske Bank said: “In Northern Ireland one in five adults are affected by mental ill-health at some stage in their lives. But it is not just something that concerns adults, children are affected by mental health issues too.
“Research shows that 50% of all adult mental health problems are developed by the age of 14. Through our support of Action Mental Health’s Healthy Me, we want to improve the outlook for our future generation.”
The partnership is set to continue in 2019 and includes volunteering, education initiatives for the charity’s clients and wellbeing support for the bank’s employees.
David Babington, Action Mental Health’s chief executive, said: “Just last month, the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health Ireland reported that children and young people’s mental health in Northern Ireland remains at crisis point. While this is extremely worrying, it reinforces the need for early intervention and educational programmes like Healthy Me.
“The theme for Children’s Mental Health Week 2019 is ‘Healthy: Inside and Out’ something that is reflected in our programmes for children and young people. We focus on promoting mental well-being alongside physical well-being, encouraging participants to engage in the five ways to well-being, to help support the development of coping skills and emotional resilience.”