Developing mental health and resilience of pupils is a key issue for controlled schools across Northern Ireland and today, Wednesday 27 June 2018, the Controlled Schools’ Support Council (CSSC) is highlighting the commitment of Carrickfergus Grammar School in doing just that.
Effective support networks, advice and counselling services and tailored programmes for each year group are now integrated into school life for Carrickfergus Grammar School’s 800 pupils.
Speaking about the Carrickfergus Grammar School’s focus on the importance of mental health, Principal Kieran Mulvenna said,
“It has become apparent that life’s challenges can take an intensive toll on young people. This could be through individual plight, family circumstances or wider issues such as the enduring legacy of the Troubles or the effects of social deprivation.
“Our current generation of teenagers is more vulnerable than any before to difficulties with mental health and happiness. Forced by the norms of a digital age to live out the trials of growing up in the unforgiving arena of social media, they depend increasingly on teachers to address distress and develop durable strategies for survival and success.
“Foremost amongst these strategies are those which foster personal resilience.
“I am delighted that pupils, staff and the Governors of Carrickfergus Grammar School are working together to promote personal resilience in a system of relentless academic assessment.
“None of us achieves best when overstressed, so alongside the obvious wish to provide compassionate support, improved mental health and wellbeing can lead to better educational outcomes.
“Carrickfergus Grammar School is thus giving our pupils the best start possible both in terms of attainment and resilience.”
Further information about the approach Carrickfergus Grammar Schools has taken to develop mental health and resilience in pupils is contained in a case study published here.
Jayne Millar, Head of Education Support for CSSC added,
“Carrickfergus Grammar School is an excellent case study in how a school’s pastoral provision can and should be integrated into a school.
“The partnerships with external agencies such as Action Mental Health, Nexus, and the Northern Area Mental Health initiative are clearly well received by pupils, enabling them to have an increased awareness of mental health talk about these issues in a mature and well-informed manner