National Conference on Mental Health in Education – May 2024

On Friday 31st May 2024, Mater Boni Consilii St Joseph School organised a national conference on mental health in schools, in collaboration with Minds Ahead UK. This was attended by over 80 educators coming from various sectors.
In the opening speech by Dr Kenneth Vella, Head of School at Mater Boni Consilii St Joseph School, Dr Vella highlighted the importance of mental health in today’s society, especially after the pandemic, and referred to the different conferences which were organised by Mater Boni Consilii St Joseph School Paola in recent years in relation to mental wellbeing.
The conference was opened by Ms Ritianne Borg Saliba, Director General within the Ministry for Education, Sports, Youth, Research and Innovation. She referred to the National Education Strategy which was recently launched where emphasis on wellbeing is put. She stressed on the importance of the vital need to invest in the educational staff in order to promote mental wellbeing within our students. For this reason, one of the main aims of the National Education Strategy is to invest in the wellbeing of the person. Only in this way, would the academic side of education impact on the student since it works in tandem with the student’s wellbeing.
The following presentation was delivered by Dr Gabriel Ellul, a psychiatrist specialising in child development, who spoke about challenges affecting the mental health of Maltese children and educators today and their effects on the school setting. Child mental health is crucial for the overall wellbeing and development. He also discussed the educators’ role in child mental health. The importance of staff collaboration with parents is vital for the child’s mental wellbeing. Dr Ellul highlighted effective practices for supporting students.
The last part of the conference was addressed by Mr Dean Johnstone, Founder and CEO of Minds Ahead UK, who presented policies and strategies in relation to mental health in the English education system. He also explained the collaboration between Minds Ahead UK, Leeds Beckett University and Malta in the field of mental wellbeing.
Mater Boni Consilii St Joseph School thanks Ms Ritianne Borg Saliba for addressing the audience, Dr Gabriel Ellul and Mr Dean Johnstone for their input in rendering the conference a valid professional development experience for the audience.