Mental Health – Ireland

While using TwitterDeck earlier this week an interesting article cropped up.

The world’s happiest countries have been revealed and drum roll please as

ireland

Ireland

top 102

was in the top ten (despite the weather)!

little things

Ireland has officially been listed in the top ten happiest countries in the world according to new research released earlier in the year (which focused on 142 different countries).

The Legatum Institute in the UK has unveiled their annual Prosperity Index and Ireland has been listed as the tenth happiest country in the world.

Update to Mental Health Week

Mental Health Week was a great success with many of the students and staff helping to make it a wonderful experience for everyone in the school.

All students were included and it additionally highlighted the importance of sleeping, exercise and eating healthy.

UPDATE!!!

Update to Mental Health Week.


 

danty tea

Wednesday was a surprise tea party for students! We allowed students to have tea, coffee or juice and a few biscuits and take a moment out of their busy timetables to reflect on their lives and stress techniques that can be used coming up to exam time.


 

stress 1

Before the tea party we went through different stress techniques that can be used by students when they begin to feel stressed. One technique which I hadn’t heard before was the 7-11 breathing technique.

Breathe in to the count of 7 and then out to the count of 11. Repeat about 6 times.

7 11 technique.jpg

After researching about I’ve discovered it’s a particular form of breathing which can be used when you are:

  • Feeling stressed
  • Struggling with panic attacks
  • Having difficulty sleeping
  • Having difficulty concentrating
  • Feeling agitated or anxious
  • Suffering from “nerves” or anxiety

Why the 7 11 breathing technique works so well is that the outward count expels the majority of the air from your body. This has the effect of stimulating the body’s natural relaxation mechanism. It stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system. A simple and effective way to do this is to use a simple counting method whilst paying attention to your breathing. Additionally, as you push more air than usual out of your body, you will find that your neck and shoulders automatically feel more relaxed and your mind feels more calm.

To keep in mind this blog was set up to enhance education through the medium of web 2,o technology – I have found out that there is a 7 11 app!

Links for the different breathing apps:


 

inside out.jpg

Another event which occurred during Mental Health Week was the screening of the recent Pixar success Inside Out.

Growing up can be a bumpy road, and it’s no exception for Riley, who is uprooted from her Midwest life when her father starts a new job in San Francisco. Like all of us, Riley is guided by her emotions – Joy (Amy Poehler), Fear (Bill Hader), Anger (Lewis Black), Disgust (Mindy Kaling) and Sadness (Phyllis Smith). The emotions live in Headquarters, the control center inside Riley’s mind, where they help advise her through everyday life. As Riley and her emotions struggle to adjust to a new life in San Francisco, turmoil ensues in Headquarters. Although Joy, Riley’s main and most important emotion, tries to keep things positive, the emotions conflict on how best to navigate a new city, house and school. (Rotten Tomatoes http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/inside_out_2015/ )

The importance of this accessible movie is having visuals were students can see that it’s ok not to be ok! You have a bumpy road through life.

bump road.jpg

There is no straight forward road in life.

 

 

 

 

Bowka – Mental Health Week

Bowka

bowka images

Exercise improves your mental health.

Music also improves your mental health.

Exercise + Music = Mental Health overload!!!!

Bowka is the new craze of exercise and music combined. Though you may not have heard of Bowka, think Zumba but with numbers and letters and you have a fair idea of what Bowka is. Bowka is as physical as it get’s yet it’s meant to be simple to learn – which is why it’s starting to gain popularity. Additionally, it’s for everybody. The young, the old, the lazy, the high energy!

You will burn any calories or negative feelings you have away I have been told. Seems like a win win situation considering tonight’s #edchatie was about how do teachers cope with stress?

Not one hundred per cent sure what Bowka will bring tomorrow, but I know it won’t be dull considering it derives form boxing and kwaito – African words for a style of South African music and dance.

To give you a test of what is in store for tomorrow – here is a short clip!

#edchatie #mentalhealth #littlethings #bowka #zumba #happymonday #motivation #keepfit #teaching

Update – Mental Health Week

                     Pop Up Cafe

danty tea

The Pop Up Cafe was a huge success with many students showing up for a cup of tea and a few biscuits. It was a good way for students to chat to teachers who were present. It was a lovely atmosphere were students got to talk to their friends while in school. There was no pressure for the students to rush through their lunch or have a test or homework hanging over them as they drank their tea!

Additionally, the seniors helped serve the tea giving the younger students a chance to chat and talk to them. This event has fostered a link between senior and juniors. Also, another positive that has come out of this is the seniors are getting a chance to reflect through their own years at school as they draw closer to closing their chapter at secondary school.

If you are planning to do a pop up cafe a few tips:

  1. Use paper cups – clean up becomes incredibly easier
  2. Have a biscuit or two for the students.
  3. Have an alternative for tea.
  4. Have it well advertised – even send out a text to the parents if this system is available in your school.
  5. Have a small activity prepared – a good one is human bingo were students interactive with people they may not have talked to before.
  6. Use a big space so students can move around without feeling on top of each other.

Overall I would highly encourage schools to try a Pop Up Cafe – try to keep costs minimal as well!

Mental health Week

mental health

Even though Mental Health Week was a few weeks ago – this week is Mental Health Week in school! Thus I hope to be giving daily updates as to the #littlethings we will be doing to improve mental health among students and staff!

Today for example we will be doing a Pop Up Cafe!


This should be of great interest to students and staff alike – students and staff will have a chance to interact outside of the classroom yet still in the school environment.

mental health2

Sometimes it’s difficult to talk to each student individually in class, even when we make an effort to talk to each student. Looking at the image on the left, students can feel isolated and left out of classes if they feel they aren’t being heard or overshadowed by others in the classroom.

Thus the Pop Up Cafe is a great way to overcome this!

Will update how it goes this evening!

Mental Health Blog

Short blog!


Recently I’ve been blogging about mental health and ways to cope with stress which can be related to general workloads.

itsokaynottobeokay

However, from experience most people connect with personal stories better, thus I wish to draw your attention to this new blog TMeileen (It’s okay not to be okay x). I promise this blog will become a must read – thus watch this space!

She highlights the awareness and stigma surrounding mental health in Ireland and how it is ok to seek help. Sometimes we can be afraid to seek help and support or even just talk. However, it is perfectly ok! Hoping this blog will help others and inspire people to ask for help or support when they need it!

Additionally, there is a twitter hashtag #itsoknottobeok.

Mental Health Day – Subject Overload?

awp-world-mental-health-day

With mental health day just passing by I notice more and more students under stress as June starts to become a reality for most. Recently I came across a clip from a television show called Waterloo Road. This show revolves around the staff, students and the community surrounding the school. Despite the show not being an actual school – the issues that are addressed by the school are real.

The reason why the clip caught my attention was the vice-principal stating that students are under a lot of stress come exam time and should be supported and guided in how to cope with stressful situations. However, instead of the staff supporting the children one boastful member stated that kids these days receive easy exams. The vice-principal instead of getting frustrated and angry asked his staff to sit one exam and see the difficulty and stress students undergo during exam time. The majority of the staff did take the exam – however all was not what it seemed.

Upon been given their test – they teachers realised it was mock exams of other subjects which they themselves did not teach. What transpired was the staff reacted the same way students do when under huge amount of pressures. Some knuckle down and try their hardest – others had a knee-jerk reaction and wanted to leave the exam without attempting as they didn’t understand the exam.

in-class-vs-in-exams

The staff became aware of the strain and stress that students are put under after it was pointed out to them that students do undertake up to and over five subjects (and in Ireland most students take seven subjects for the Leaving Certificate).

A few things to take away from this clip is

  • Students have more than one subject!
  • Little bit at a time – if students seem overwhelmed, break it down a little bit at a time for them.
  • Timetable – encourage timetables for study.
  • Encourage students to get a full nights rest – it will make a world of difference to their mental and physical health.

Also one heart-warming story I heard recently was a phenomenal teacher who made caramel slices for stressed final year students. Maybe surprise students with a small homemade treat or a five minutes rest at the end of class might make the world of difference!