The Pieta Amber Flag Initiative recognises the individual efforts of schools, colleges, community groups and clubs to create healthy, inclusive environments that support mental well-being.
The Pieta Amber Flag initiative enables schools and youth groups across the country to raise awareness of the stigmas which exist in their environments, and the stressors on the mental and emotional wellbeing of those within them.
The AMBER FLAG INITIATIVE aims to encourage schools
- to promote, and actively bring about a culture change in the promotion of, positive mental health within the educational system and other organisations.
- It enhances the already good work that is being done where mental health is concerned by offering an award.
- The Amber Flag will acknowledge these efforts and unite all schools in the promotion of Positive Mental Health.
Since 2019, a team of enthusiastic, committed students have made huge efforts to promote positive mental health in our school and to organise organise activities & events which support and promote mental wellbeing.
Our Lady of Lourdes Secondary School was awarded its first Amber Flag in 2020 and successfully retained the flag in 2021.
The Amber Flag Goals for 2020/21 were:
Amber Flag Goal 1: Fundraising Day for Pieta House & Crumlin Hospital
Halloween Fancy Dress Competition to raise funds for Pieta House and Crumlin Children’s Hospital. Students and teachers took part. This was followed by a school-wide general knowledge quiz held over Kahoot with quiz questions being set by Amber Flag team members. The school community raised a total of €1,000 which was divided equally between Pieta House & Crumlin Children’s Hospital.
Amber Flag Goal 2: Festive Fortnight – December 2020
The Amber Flag team in conjunction with Young St. Vincent De Paul organised a series of activities to bring some Christmas spirit and cheer to our school community, as many of the normal school activities had been curtailed due to Covid-19. The aim was to bring a bit of fun and joy to school and to end the year with lots of cheer and a positive mental attitude. “Festive Fortnight” ran from 10th to 22nd December.
Amber Flag Goal 3: Mental Health Awareness/Wellbeing Week
During Mental Health Awareness/Wellbeing Week, which took place while all year groups except for 6th years were still learning from home. Staff and students were encouraged to spend some time each day focusing on different aspects of wellbeing. The activities organised for the week were structured around the “Five ways to Wellbeing” which are: Connect, Learn, Be Active, Take Notice and Give. Activities and challenges are outlined below.
Action Calendar – Each student and teacher received an Action Calendar for the Month of March outlining small actions we can take to look after our own wellbeing and to help others along the way. Recommended daily activities from the calendar were posted on the OLOL Facebook.
European walking/running Holiday Challenge – a walking/running challenge across Europe organised in conjunction with the PE department. The aim of this challenge was to virtually travel across Europe and to reach as many cities as possible. Staff and students combined walked a total of 6,000,000 steps during Wellbeing Week, and “virtually” travelled to Rouen, France (Day 1); Mostar, Bosnia & Herzegovina (Day 2); Talinn, Estonia (Day 3); Moscow, Russia (Day 4); finishing in Warsaw, Poland (Day 5). Media updates were posted on the school’s social media accounts each day giving some interesting facts about each destination.
Virtual Tutorial/Coffee morning – Each class tutor held a “virtual” tutorial with their class at some stage during the week, to give students an opportunity to connect with each other and chat. Some groups baked, others made ice-cream, some played games. A booklet of games was supplied to each class tutor.
Photography Competition – Entitled “Lockdown Lives” this competition encouraged students to submit fun, emotional or inspiring pictures that show how they were getting through the Covid-19 lockdown.
Scavenger Hunt for Junior students – This activity was open to all junior students (1st to 3rd year) and challenged students to solve riddles to identify everyday household items. They were then required to photograph the collection of items and submit to amber flag team by email.
Wellbeing Week Video – Amber Flag team members produced a Wellbeing video presentation containing words of encouragement for anyone going through difficult times. When completed, the video was posted on the school’s social media.
Wellbeing Video link: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=3490568801048667
Amber Flag Goal 4: Amber Flag Virtual Noticeboard & Wellbeing Wall
Virtual Wellbeing Wall – As all students were learning online from January to March 2021, the team decided to put together a virtual Amber Flag Noticeboard and Wellbeing Wall, the link for which, was sent to all students, staff and parents. The Wellbeing wall contains contact information on mental health support groups, suggestions for wellbeing activities, updates on Wellbeing Week activities and other resources for students and parents. Link to Wellbeing Wall: https://padlet.com/jbyrne17/n426ha4sb7g8oi3c