The partnership began in February 2021 and has raised £103,853 for the charity through the support of Danske Bank’s colleagues and customers so far.
The funds raised to date will be divided between two AWARE projects, both of which focus on supporting the mental wellbeing of school pupils across Northern Ireland – primarily the Mood Matters Young People programme for post-primary pupils and also the Express Yourself poetry competition for Primary 6 and 7 pupils.
This means AWARE will be able to facilitate 257 Mood Matters mental health sessions in post-primary schools, reaching 6,425 14-18 year olds, as well as supporting further development of the programme later this year.
The Express Yourself poetry competition allows children to open up about their thoughts and feelings through the creative medium of poetry, and already over 100 schools in NI have signed up.
Vicky Davies, Chief Executive of Danske Bank said:
“As the biggest bank in Northern Ireland, we believe it’s our responsibility to help our society thrive, and to work to address key issues we’re all facing. There is no doubt that over the past two years, mental health has become a real focus for us all as we navigate through the challenges of the pandemic.
“While it’s been difficult for everyone, it’s especially so for our young people who have experienced such huge disruption to their education and social lives. That is why we are directing funds raised to support AWARE to deliver and further grow and develop their youth outreach programmes.
“This is a subject that colleagues across Danske Bank feel passionately about, and they have been the driving force of our partnership right from the start – from fundraising to attending sessions delivered by AWARE to support their own mental health.
“We’re so looking forward to working to continuing our strong partnership this year and seeing how we can grow together into 2022.”
The announcement comes during Children’s Mental Health Week (7-13 February), which focuses on the importance of children and young people’s mental health – this year the theme is ‘Growing Together’.
Karen Collins, Chief Executive of Aware NI added:
“We’ve been overwhelmed by the support received from Danske Bank’s colleagues and customers – it has far exceeded our expectations and reinforces just how much many of us have been impacted by mental health concerns, particularly throughout the pandemic.
“Young people have been significantly affected through disruption to their schooling and social networks. It’s so important that they receive the support they need to deal with these challenges and maintain good mental health.
“That is why our Mood Matters programmes in post-primary schools are so critical – they focus on helping young people understand more about their own mental health and learn what steps they can take to be emotionally healthy.
“Last year, the “Express Yourself” campaign was hugely successful, and we were astonished by the quality of submissions – it really engaged P6 and P7 pupils to discuss mental health openly. We’ve even more schools engaged this year and are very grateful to Danske Bank for their campaign sponsorship.
“We rely on Danske Bank, and our other partners, to ensure the continued provision of our services. We’re so thankful to Danske’s colleagues and customers for their support so far and looking forward to growing together this year.”
Find out more about how you can get involved in the two programmes at AWARE's website.