Tuesday 22nd of November saw Gibraltar schools celebrating their first Now and Beyond Mental Health & Wellbeing Festival sponsored by GIBSAMs and organised by Beyond mental health charity UK.
CEO of Beyond Louisa Rose and Operations Manager Monica Leung travelled to Gibraltar on Monday. While Louisa delivered live talks to schools entitled Social Media: Friend or Foe, Monica had set up access for all schools to numerous live links for presentations: celebrity welcome; mindful moments; self-confidence; exercise with Joe Wicks; support for LGTBQ young people and their friends; and racial inequality. After the school day, there was also an opportunity for teachers to talk about their own wellbeing and watch a presentation delivered live by the Anna Freud Centre.
The day culminated in a live presentation by Louisa exploring the impact of social media on the mental health of young people and an examination of parental habits too. Minister for Education, the Hon John Cortes, welcomed the speakers and audience and showed his support for the continued work being done to improve the emotional wellbeing of our young people. The audience, made up of parents, NGOs and professionals who work together to support the emotional wellbeing of our children and young people, also took with them strategies to reduce time spent on their phone and on social media.
Throughout the day teachers across all schools had planned a myriad of activities such as mindfulness, worry worms, affirmations, exercise, self-reflection, Tai Chi, songs, games and activities, all designed to continue to bring the importance of nurturing wellbeing into focus.
The Department of Education saw the day as a chance to keep emotional wellbeing as a high priority and highlighted the important and progressive work done in collaboration with Children’s Services, GHA Children’s Mental health, Youth and RGP. Whilst the Department of Education acknowledged that there will always be more that can be done, the feeling was positive and professionals are keen to “keep this ball rolling!”