Mental health awards ‘first’ for Carrickfergus

Carrickfergus Grammar School won the Raising Awareness and Tackling Stigma category at the awards, which were presented by Belfast Giants' chief coach Adam Keefe and led by radio presenter Paulo Ross.
Carrickfergus Grammar School won the Raising Awareness and Tackling Stigma category at the awards, which were presented by Belfast Giants' chief coach Adam Keefe and led by radio presenter Paulo Ross.

Carrickfergus Grammar School’s exceptional commitment to mental health and well-being has been recognised at the inaugural Head First Awards.

The school won the ‘Raising Awareness and Tackling Stigma’ category in the Action Mental Health initiative.

The awards honour organisations and people in the community who avail of the pioneering mental health promotion work carried out by the charity’s MensSana team.

The Carrickfergus Grammar School citation read: “This award recognises a school, college or organisation which has taken a proactive approach to tackling the stigma of mental health and its impact on young people, providing a voice for young people’s mental health through their activities.

“This school has shown an exemplary commitment to the resilience and well-being, not only of their students but of all young people in Northern Ireland.

“They have worked with The Initiative project to offer mental and emotional well-being sessions to all staff and students – and they dedicated a significant amount of time and effort to a co-production project which involved their students scripting and producing a film which is now used in sessions and on the project website.

“The principal, Kieran Mulvenna, has been a key enabler in all of this work, going above and beyond to support young people to address stigma and acting as a spokesperson for young people and for schools in media interviews to highlight the need for this work in schools.

“The panel agreed this school showed leadership and empowered young people to take the lead by example.”

The ceremony, held at the SSE Arena on World Mental Health Day, was led by Cool FM radio presenter Paulo Ross, who has spoken publicly about his mother’s mental health struggles in the past. He has said Action Mental Health’s New Horizons recovery service had been life-changing.

Belfast Giants’ chief coach Adam Keefe handed out the specially-commissioned awards. Nominees were selected based on their success championing young people’s mental health during the academic year 2017 – 2018.