Mental health programme rolled out in primary schools

Pupils from Andrews Memorial Primary School in Comber are taking part in a new mental health awareness programme. Aisling Press from Danske Bank and school principal Ralph Magee are supporting the project
Seanín Graham

PRIMARY school children across Northern Ireland are to learn about the benefits of positive mental health as part of a new schools project to improve their wellbeing.

More than 1,400 pupils as well as hundreds of teachers and parents are to benefit from the 'Healthy Me' programme which is being rolled out by the charity Action Mental Health.

With one in five adults now affected by mental health conditions such as depression, the drive aims to raise awareness and help children build resilience to cope with challenges.

Aimed at eight to 11 year-olds, the £70,000 project was funded through Dankse Bank with staff raising £50,000 and the bank matching the remaining £20,000.

Scores of pupils at Andrews Memorial school in Comber were among the first to benefit from the new scheme.

Trained workers from the charity have now extended their work through the bank donation, with plans to extend the scheme to 1,450 children and 450 teachers.

Aisling Press, Head of branch banking at Danske said: "We believe we can help address the issue for future generations by supporting and investing in the mental health of our children and young people. That’s why supporting Action Mental Health is so important to us. ‘Healthy Me’ is a fantastic initiative that has a strong focus on prevention - helping children to learn... how to cope with setbacks in life.

David Babington, charity chief executive said they were pleased to continue their work across schools with the additional funding.

"Having worked with Danske Bank in 2017, we were really pleased to see how committed they were to supporting its employees. Our team have been delighted to deliver our 'Mindful Manager' training to more than 80 managers in the last six months with more sessions planned for 2018."


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