Our annual Anti-Bullying Week took place from last Monday November 22nd to Friday November 26th. This year the theme was THINK TWICE and was centred around our Mental Health. Young people face the challenges & struggles with their mental health every day. We hope that by promoting an awareness of these struggles, that we can deter bullying behaviour from taking place. If students can stop and consider what may be going on in another student’s life and the private struggles that he may be going through, then we hope they might learn to treat their fellow students with kindness and compassion.
(i) Last Friday leading up to this week, we opened our Anti-Bullying Week with a very poignant message using a 15 minute video by Bressie where he discusses mental health and the struggles faced by many young people. Included were some very sound strategies and tips that everyone can use to develop good mental fitness. I have attached the YouTube link below.
(ii) During Tutor time on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, we extended it to allow teachers to show a series of videos to their classes.
-Teens talk about Mental Health during a Pandemic
-Cathal Sheridan, former Munster Rugby, Tackle your Feelings
-5 Ways to Wellbeing- Mental Health Ireland
As always, some questions that Tutors could use after watching these video clips were given, to open up discussion on mental health with their classes.
(iii) We also carried out a number of competitions in the Junior classes as in previous years- Slogan, Essay & Art Competition.
(iv) Also this year we showed all 5th and 6th year students a powerful documentary by Roman Kemp called ‘Our Silent Emergency’. This looks at empowering young men to speak about their feelings and to not be afraid to ask their friends are they ok (everyone should watch this….).
It is timely now to acknowledge the important role of the Anti-Bullying Team in our school and it is also an opportune time to recognise the peace of mind and comfort that the Anti-Bullying Team give to students and their parents every day of the school year.
It goes without saying that every successful team needs a passionate team leader and that is exactly what Deirdre Collins is. She is so passionate about helping students who may be upset or traumatised (in any way) but especially by bullying behaviour. Every single report that comes in, regardless of how major or minor it is, is investigated. The Anti-Bullying Team are in constant communication, all day every day- surveys, interviews, meetings, phone calls to parents and updates, etc. In addition, we’re fully aware that the group of people who make the Anti-Bullying Team, Ger, Alan, Niamh, Ruth, Theresa, Paula, are as passionate as Deirdre is about helping and supporting our more vulnerable boys in the school.
As Principal, I would be confident in stating that no other school in the country has a dedicated group that has the passion, heart and drive that our Anti-Bullying Team have and for that, I, our teachers, the boys and so many of our parents are so very grateful.
Finally, an updated mental health support leaflet for children and young people is now available for viewing by clicking on the link below.
This leaflet will raise awareness, signpost and provide details of several HSE funded national organisations that provide various mental health supports and services to children, young people and their families around the country.
Details of these services and more are also available on www.yourmentalhealth.ie or by calling 1800 111 888.
Hard copies of the updated leaflet will also be given to every student in our school next.