Mental Health of the School Community: Collaboration agreement signed between Mater Boni Consilii St Joseph school Paola (Malta) and Minds Ahead (UK)

“Through this collaboration agreement with Mater Boni Consilii St Joseph Paola we will also have the opportunity to offer accredited programmes to Maltese educators, provide training to educators, parents and students on mental health, organise national conferences and webinars and offer national professional learning development sessions to the Maltese community”. – Dean Johnstone, CEO and Founder at Minds Ahead.

After weeks of negotiations and discussions, a collaboration agreement was recently signed between Mater Boni Consilii St Joseph School Paola and Minds Ahead. The vision of the Award-winning Social Enterprise, Minds Ahead, is to revolutionise mental health in schools and colleges by developing an education workforce with the knowledge and skills to effectively support the mental health of pupils, staff, parents and school leaders. The agreement was signed by Dr Kenneth Vella, headmaster of Mater Boni Consilii St Joseph Paola and Mr Dean Johnstone, the Chief Executive Officer of the English institution.

Asked to comment about the signing of this collaboration agreement, Dr Vella stated that recent research has shown that the COVID19 and the present challenges, definitely left a mark on our psychological and mental health, and educators and students are not an exception. 

Kenneth Vella

“I take the opportunity to thank Minds Ahead which signed this exclusive agreement with our school. Minds Ahead will be assisting our educational entity in supporting the mental health of our members of staff and the school community in general. This will not only be through ongoing consultations but also through training of teachers, parents and students alike. As a school we are also willing to extend the benefits of such an agreement with other Maltese educational institutions. Certainly, this agreement compliments other memorandum of understandings we signed in the past years with other local and international entities. Some of these are Level Academy Malta, Warnbrough College UK, Learning Scoop Finland, Seppo Finland and Mightifier Finland. In the past years, thanks also to Mindfulness with Elaine, which is led by Ms Elaine Azzopardi, we also started to teach our children how to practise mindfulness during and after school hours,” commented Dr Kenneth Vella.

Whilst thanking Dr Vella for doing his utmost to reach such an agreement, Mr Johnstone stated that "Minds Ahead believes that presently there are a number of challenges if we want to support the mental health and wellbeing of a school community. This is because in the past years there was an increase in the level of poor mental health in pupils aged 3 to 18, in the cases of people who needed mental health support because of the impacts of COVID-19. Meanwhile, educational establishments worldwide still lack suitably qualified staff to appropriately support students’ mental health. Those with mental health needs are the children who most likely miss school and these children have the highest ‘unauthorised absence’ rate, meaning they could be at risk of harm".

Educators and school leaders interested to have more information about the services which will be offered by Minds Ahead in Malta are kindly asked to send an email to Dr Kenneth Vella on – head@materboniconsilii.edu.mt

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