Historically, health and personal development has been delivered on an ad hoc basis in Irish schools. However,
from September 2005 Social, Personal and Health Education (SPHE) will be a mandatory curriculum subject for
15 to 18 year olds. There is a shortage of high-quality resources on positive mental health available for teachers
to implement SPHE with this age group, and the Mind Out project sought to meet this need.
AIM OF THE PROJECT
The aim of the Mind Out project was to develop, implement and evaluate a curriculum-based programme, in the
form of a module promoting positive mental health, for 15 to 18 year olds in the Irish school setting. The project
included schools from both the Ireland and Northern Ireland, with the additional aim of building relationships
and sharing experiences between the two jurisdictions.
The module focuses explicitly on positive mental health issues, and forms an integral part of a more general
health education programme. The aims of the programme materials that have been developed are to:
■ identify a range of coping strategies available to young people in stressful situations;
■ identify rational thinking skills for use in controlling negative emotions;
■ raise awareness of feelings and how to deal with them positively;
■ raise awareness of sources of support, both informal and formal, for young people in distress;
■ explore attitudes towards mental health issues and towards seeking help.
The aims of the associated evaluation study were to:
■ establish the feasibility of adapting international models of best practice in curriculum materials for mental
health promotion to the Irish school setting;
■ assess the impact of the programme on pupils’ knowledge, attitudes and skills in relation to mental health;
■ investigate whether the programme’s effects are greater than those of a standard health education programme;
■ explore the effects of different levels of teacher fi delity to the process of programme delivery;
■ assess the attitudes of teachers towards the content and structure of the programme and its effect on their
pupils, the pupil-teacher relationship and the wider school environment;
■ ascertain the attitudes of pupils towards the programme;
■ explore the usefulness of an activity-based workshop as an evaluation tool with young people.