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Students decorate stones with messages promoting positive mental health

Stones painted by students at St Paul’s C of E Primary School, promoting good mental health messages, aim to support people in the Ryhope community. 

As part of the school’s ‘Living Stones’ challenge, students were encouraged to brightly decorate stones with encouraging messages, ranging from love hearts and crosses to simply the word ‘hope’. 

The idea was birthed from a conversation between Jackie Graham, Acting Headteacher at St Paul’s, Sharon Stiles, an Occupational Therapist at Hopewood Park, and Revd David Chadwick, Chair of Governors at St Paul’s Primary School.

The stones are currently being stored alongside stones produced by patients at Hopewood Park, with the intention of holding an event in spring. 

This event would see the stones collected by students and patients, who will take a couple stones each and leave them around the local area, spreading the message across the community.

Revd David Chadwick, Vicar at St Paul’s, said: “St Paul’s Primary School, Hopewood Park Hospital and our church have been working together for a few years now to promote mental and spiritual wellbeing across our communities. 

“The aim of this exercise was to produce messages of hope that are as strong and as durable as the stones on which they're painted – similar to how hearing the words of Jesus is like building on rock.” 

Sharon Stiles said: “Jesus talked about being the living stone of the church. We hope that this joint event between the school and the patients of Hopewood Park will give support to the local community.

“We want to let them know that during the dark days of the pandemic we were thinking of them, reminding them that they were not alone and that the care of the community was and is with them. 

“I hope the stones will bring (living) Joy whenever they are seen.”

First published on: 26th January 2022
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