RIPPLE the dolphin is back home where she belongs after being decorated by students from Gidgegannup Primary for the Big Splash WA schools program.
Gidgegannup Primary School art teacher Cindy Watson worked with a small group of Year 5 children to paint the art piece for the Big Splash WA exhibition at the Perth Convention Centre.
She said their dolphin represented inclusivity, collaboration, empathy and, like a dolphin, being part of a community.
“The name Ripple reminds us that actions create a ripple effect; small deeds and words affect many people,” she said.
Ripple features concentric circles to represent the individual, family, school, community, the world and mental health awareness.
“We painted hearts on the wave to show that we can achieve great things if we are supported by love, and the white dots show that we are all connected,” Ms Watson said.
The Big Splash WA dolphin project provided the opportunity to ‘start the conversation’ about childhood mental health issues within the school community.
Ms Watson said mental health problems adults may encounter often have their roots in children and by raising awareness at school, she hoped early intervention would circumvent later problems.
Ripple’s new home in the school library will continue to raise awareness of mental health issues through discussions with students, teachers and parents.
Big Splash came to WA through the Perth Children’s Hospital Foundation to address an increase in young people with mental health issues and to let children know: you are not alone; it’s ok to talk about feelings and concerns and real help is available.
Research shows four times as many young people present to emergency departments with mental health crises, including repeated self-injury and attempted suicide, compared to five years ago.
The Perth Children’s Hospital Foundation’s art trail of dolphin sculptures in the city recently departed after being auctioned off to raise money for kids’ mental health.
For more information on the schools program, call 9489 1100 or visit www.thebigsplashwa.com.au.