St Augustines School Mental Health Awareness Week has been running for the last three years and this year they coincided with the work that is being done across the city for Mental Health Awareness Week.
St. Augustine’s School, located on Sexton Street is one of five Youth Encounter Project schools in Ireland and was established in 1977. David Dineen is the principal and the school provides an alternative model of education providing Junior Certificate exams and the Junior Cert Schools Programme.
St Augustines School Mental Health Awareness Week was organised to coincide with Limerick Mental Health Awareness week. World Mental Health Day was October 10.
“During Mental Health Awareness week we aim to link our lessons to Mental Health providing an avenue to explore and talk openly about Mental Health,” explained Alma Mudd, a teacher at St Augustines.
Alma spoke to us about the benefits of having a Mental Health Awareness Week in their school. “I think it’s great that mental health is something that is becoming openly talked about and you see it on the news, facebook and billboards. There really is a recognition that mental health is something that we all have a responsibility to mind for ourselves and for each other. I think it’s amazing that the curriculum is incorporating mental health into schools.”
As part of the week, they participated in the Children’s Art exhibition at The Hunt Museum during Limerick’s Mental Health Awareness Week which was facilitated by Amanda Clifford. The art exhibition was open daily from Monday, October 10 until Sunday, October 16 at 10-5pm.
St Augustines School is working on achieving the Amber Flag and brought in Richard Lynch as a guest speaker to talk to the students about mental health on Thursday, October 13. The Amber Flag initiative aims to promote positive mental health issues in schools, colleges, clubs, societies and organisations throughout Ireland.
During our visit, Richard spoke to the students of St Augustines about positive mental health and spoke openly about his experiences with bullying, addiction and the struggle of dealing with his mental health and well-being throughout his life. He stressed to the students the importance of avoiding toxic people and instead interacting with people that enhance you as an individual. He also spoke about how maintaining good physical health and looking after our bodies can also help our minds. Going around the room, Richard asked each student what their passions were and encouraged the students to embrace their talents.
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