Judges review an entry in the Mindfulness Mural Competition. (Photo: Provided)

Fifteen schools across the territory competed in the Mindfulness Mural Competition hosted recently by the Community Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services Unit of the BVI Health Services Authority.

Elmore Stoutt High School and Valley Day Primary School emerged the top winners.

“Every year on World Mental Health Day, our team emphasises our children and youth,” said Dr. Virginia Rubaine, director of community mental health. “This year we wanted to do something which was fresh, impactful, and that would serve as a constant reminder to the students that mental health and their wellbeing should be their utmost priority.”

The competition was also designed to foster creativity among students, according to organisers.

“This was our first year executing this initiative, and I was left overwhelmed by the apparent level of technical involvement which the students had had, which demonstrates that they would have left the design process educated and empowered as mental health champions,” Dr. Rubaine said.


The judges, who toured each participating school, included Dr. Sauda Smith, executive trustee of Unite BVI, the campaign’s primary donor; Carima Wilson-Solomon, education officer for technical and vocational education and training; and Akesha Smith, a public health officer.

In the secondary school category, ESHS won for an entry that featured a handmade, upcycled swing, cushions and bean bag chairs.

Valley Day won the primary school division with an entry that organisers said exhibited an in-depth understanding of mental wellness.

Elsyn Henley Richiez Learning Centre was named an “honorary winner” for an entry the judges praised for students’ “participation despite extraordinary circumstances,” according to a press release about the contest.

With the help of donors, the mental health services team now plans to design permanent “mindfulness spaces” at each winning school, organisers said.