Mental health a top priority at St Kevin’s College

LIKE EVERY other workplace schools can have their share of stress – for pupils and teachers alike!
At St Kevin’s College in Lisnaskea active measures are being put in place to help alleviate stress and promote better mental health.
Dedicated staff at the school are given the job of concentrating people’s minds about the whole issue of stress. Among them is Heidi McSheffrey, who is head of the nurture room, a special place created for students who may be struggling to do a full day in class, whether it’s something at school that is bothering them, or issues at home,” explains Heidi.
 “If things are getting too much we can have a chat, do some baking, arts and crafts or go to the school green house to plant or water flowers.”
Having a safe haven for students to seek support and advice on how to manage stress is extremely important. Especially as pressures like social media can have a crippling effect on mental health. “Students can’t just go home and switch off…social media has them connected 24/7” says Heidi.
And she points out that the entire staff at St Kevin’s encourage students to ask for extra support at any time. The school also organises intense training days on how to cope with stress and organise revision in the run-up to exams.
Principal Gary Kelly believes this is key for when students move on to further education” “They are well equipped with the skills and coping mechanisms needed to face challenges” he says. “This reduces the risk of feeling overwhelmed with work and deadlines.”
In fact, Mr Kelly has extended this support even further to help parents and the wider community.  The ‘Trinity Project’ was designed and funded by the school in the hope of connecting home, school and family together.
Mr Kelly feels investing money into the community is important for the children, giving them resilience to cope with life.
 “The school has teamed up with Oak Healthy Living Centre and Castle Park here in the local community,” explains Elaine Cassidy, head of extended schools at St Kevin’s.
“The project is open to everybody – jiving, relaxation, mindfulness and exercise programmes are all included,” she adds.
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