On Friday 17th March 2023, our educators attended a national conference on mental health in education which was organised under the auspices of the Head of School and the Ambassador of Malta to Estonia and Finland, Dr Kenneth Vella. This conference was held in collaboration with Minds Ahead and Leeds Beckett University. After the opening speech by Dr Vella, President Emeritus of Malta, Her Excellency Dr Marie Louise Coleiro Preca addressed the audience. She emphasised on the importance of mental health services, especially for children. She quoted local studies to support her claim that children need the necessary support from a young age to avoid mental health problems. She described the work that is being carried out in Malta by the NGOs she leads. She concluded her speech by stressing on the need for a holistic approach to develop meaningful policies to help children in the best possible way. At the end of her presentation, Minds Ahead CEO and founder, Mr Dean Johnstone, presented President Emeritus with a book on mental health that was recently published.
Following this intervention, Mr Johnstone discussed the work carried out in schools in the United Kingdom in relation to mental health and well-being. He gave a detailed presentation on approaches schools may adopt in tackling mental health and well-being amongst children. He emphasised on the importance of providing a safe school environment to our students since it contributes to the mental well-being of child.
Mr Johnstone and Ms Claire Sewell, Programme Lead within Minds Ahead, led workshops where the participants discussed ways in adopting a holistic approach to support our students’ mental health and well-being, and in using professional strengths to enhance mental health in our schools.
The conference was well attended by educators from different institutions, professionals as well as students working in the field of mental health. Thanks to President Emeritus Marie Louise Coleiro Preca, Hon. Justin Schembri, Opposition Speaker for Education, Dr Denis Vella Baldacchino, Mental Health Commissioner, Rev. Fr. Charles Mallia, Delegate for Catholic Schools and Sr Riches Grech, Provincial of St Joseph congregation in Malta. Special thanks to Dr Vella for providing the participants with such a great learning experience.
It should be noted that last Summer the school signed a collaboration agreement with Minds Ahead UK.