Scoil an Linbh Íosa, Killymard, Donegal Town has received a national award for tackling the stigma of mental health issues.

Back in March, the pupils won the hearts of judges in the Donegal Town St Patrick’s Day Parade. They picked up the Best School prize for their positive mental health message that reached out to the whole community.

The #mindyourselfie theme had a strong focus on promoting positive mental health and well-being.

The Parents’ Association Sub Committee worked with pupils as well as parents and staff for their parade entry.  They came up with an emoji theme, using their own hand-made t-shirts, a happy dance and emoji balloons to hand out. Tied to each balloon was a positive or happy message written by the pupils. 

There was a focus on creating an awareness at an early age of the importance of emotional well-being. The theme also helped pupils to feel free to talk about their feelings.

Joy

Such was the impact at the parade that it was one of the most talked about entries on the day. Many people spoke of the joy of the children and the sea of yellow balloons that brought so much colour to a wet St Patrick’s Day.

St Patrick’s Mental Health Services then chose the parade entry for a national award. This service is attached to St Patrick’s University Hospital in Dublin. It supports schools through the mental health education and awareness campaign Walk In My Shoes.

This year they introduced Mission Possible to celebrate and acknowledge the work done by schools around the country to promote positive mental health and wellbeing.

The service held the inaugural Mission Possible Awards in St Patrick’s University Hospital recently. Scoil an Linbh Íosa joined schools from all over Ireland in being recognised for their role in tackling the stigma surrounding mental health, both in the classroom and in the wider community.

Scoil an Linbh Íosa was awarded Third Prize and received a certificate, trophy and cheque for €300.

The Parents' Association and the Board of Management met the cost of the trip to Dublin, with the balance sponsored by Marley Travel.  

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