On Friday 11th September Ms. Chaney, Luke and I attended the Ambassador Schools award ceremony at Farmleigh House in the Phoenix Park. On behalf of the Student Council, Luke and I accepted the award for Fingal Community College.
It was a fantastic event. It was an honour to be there representing our school, especially after all of our hard work. It was amazing to see forty five different schools from all around Ireland receiving their Cycle Against Suicide Ambassador School status. The awards were presented by Jim Breen, founder of Cycle Against Suicide.
The Ambassador School Awards were awarded for completing the ‘Five Gears’. These five gears were mostly based on last year’s theme – Appreciate Your Mind! The aim of our Appreciate Your Mind project was to make our students smile. Some of the things we did include our static cycle (we cycled from the Cliffs of Moher in Co Clare to Swords)and our Mental Health Week including a ‘Bad Hair, Don’t Despair’ Day. Everyone could come in with the craziest hairstyle they could think of… Someone even came in with lights in their hair!
The Student Council wrote motivational and/or positive phrases on post-its and stuck them on every locker in the school for students to find the next morning. We filmed some reactions and some students even kept the notes.
My favourite part of the Mental Health Week was when happy songs were played over the intercom at break time and lunch. Our project was a success.
Cycle Against Suicide puts an emphasis on positive mental health and at promoting it through fun and interactive ways. It’s OK not to feel OK, and it is absolutely OK to ask for help!
I’m very proud of Fingal Community College’s achievement and I’m happy I got to be a part of it.
To coincide with World Suicide Prevention Week, Cycle Against Suicide honoured the efforts and achievements of 45 secondary schools from all over Ireland, including Fingal Community College in promoting positive mental health awareness and their dedication in spreading the message, that “it’s ok not to feel ok; and it’s absolutely ok to ask for help”.
At a special reception in Dublin’s Farmleigh House, attended by the Department of Education and the Institute of Guidance Counsellors, student representatives of Fingal Community College were awarded ‘Ambassador School’ status by Cycle Against Suicide, receiving a special plaque which is set to take pride of place in the school. This award acknowledges their exceptional commitment in the promotion of positive mental health and ultimately, their efforts in breaking the cycle of suicide across Ireland.
Cycle Against Suicide’s ‘Ambassador School’ awards are a key pillar in Cycle Against Suicide’s year-long schools programme. To be in with a chance of being recognised for their schools’ efforts, the school must complete five key sets of criteria, in the promotion of mental health; including getting active, hosting a mental health week and project work. The approach encourages active engagement and participation among student and staff populations within their schools and crucially, in their communities.
Speaking on behalf of Cycle Against Suicide, CEO Paul McBride said “There is immense positivity surrounding our schools programme especially the awards ceremony. The aim of Cycle Against Suicide is the reassurance that it’s ok not to feel ok; and it’s absolutely ok to ask for help. Having 45 schools receiving recognition for spreading this message is fantastic and I applaud their efforts. Students, teachers and principals are making a real difference in promoting open communication and action in their communities, for which they deserve to be immensely proud.”
Cycle Against Suicide Schools Co-ordinator, Angeline Collins acknowledged the high levels of interest in the awards, saying; “The huge interest from schools requesting adds to our motivation to continue to recognise innovative and effective initiatives developed by schools and to share and showcase good practice”.
Attendees at the ceremony today in Farmleigh House, included students, teachers, principals as well as members of the Institute of Guidance Counsellors, members of the Department of Education and representatives of Cycle Against Suicide. In attendance on behalf of Fingal Community College were Simona and Luke.
Lorraine Cavanagh, Cycle Against Suicide; Mobile: 0872224843