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27 May, 2020

Irish schools take on mental health mission

Mission Possible Awards show that schools are as committed as ever to promoting positive mental health

Mission Possible Awards show that schools are as committed as ever to promoting positive mental health

(Dublin, 27 May 2020): Walk in My Shoes (WIMS) has announced the winners of its fourth annual Mission Possible awards, celebrating schools around the country that promote positive mental health and wellbeing for their students. 

Established in 2017, Mission Possible is a flagship initiative of St Patrick’s Mental Health Services’ (SPMHS) education and awareness campaign, WIMS. It invites primary and secondary schools to submit evidence of innovative and unique projects undertaken to raise awareness of mental health and combat stigma within the school and the wider community.

This year, despite the extraordinary challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, over 30 submissions were made to WIMS from schools around the country, demonstrating the determination of teachers to showcase the amazing efforts of their students throughout the year as they developed new initiatives on their mission for positive mental health.

Six schools were chosen to receive awards within three categories and winners were announced via a congratulatory video shared online in place of the annual Mission Possible awards ceremony, usually held at St Patrick’s University Hospital, for all participating primary and secondary schools. 

This year’s guest judge, John Doran, Guidance Counsellor in the Patrician Secondary School, and author of Ways to Wellbeing, joined Paul Gilligan, Chief Executive Officer of SPMHS, and Tamara Nolan, Head of Communications and Advocacy at SPMHS, to review the primary school and secondary school initiatives under the categories of Best Programme Activity, Best Standalone Project, and Most Creative Idea.   

Highlights of this year’s entries were Feeling Charts, a Buddy Bench, and a Strengths Tree; as well as one winning secondary school who stayed connected during lockdown via a specially created Wellbeing Instagram page for their class.

Paul Gilligan, CEO of St SPMHS, highlighted the importance of teachers and students staying involved in mental health initiatives during this period of uncertainty.  He said “it is likely that the greatest emotional impact of this global pandemic will be on children and teenagers.  Finding understanding, meaning and emotional resilience in such circumstances is particularly difficult, and teachers have a key role to play.  I would like to congratulate these teachers and students on their achievements and commitment to promoting positive mental health. A teacher’s continued support and encouragement throughout this pandemic will have a lasting impact on their students’ mental health, and will highlight to them the importance of becoming an advocate for mental health throughout their lives.”

Guest judge John Doran highlighted the high standard of entries and commended the focus on wellbeing during the COVID-19 pandemic. “I was delighted to be involved in this year’s Mission Possible initiative, and to acknowledge the achievement of these students on behalf of their community. Minding your mind has never been more important.  The wide range of initiatives and positive outcomes demonstrated by all schools, at primary and post primary level, showed a high level of innovation and commitment across the board. I would like to thank the students and teachers for their creativity and hard work, and for sharing such messages of positivity when we most need it.”

All participating schools received a ‘Certificate of Achievement’. The following schools will receive prizes for coming first place in these categories:

Mission Possible Winners 2020

  • Primary School

    Best Programme Activity

    St. Joseph's NS, Tivoli Road, Dén Laoghaire, Dublin

    Best Standalone Project

    St. Stephen's NS, Johnstown, Navan, County Meath

    Most Creative Idea

    Woodland NS, Rough Park, Letterkenny, County Donegal

  • Secondary School

    Best Programme Activity

    Merlin College, Doughiska Road, Galway City

    Best Standalone Project

    Marino Community Special School, Bray, County Wicklow

    Most Creative Idea

    Mercy College, Coolock, Dublin 5