Recently the state of young people’s mental health problems has been referred to as a ticking time bomb. In the UK 1 in 10 children and young people aged 5 – 16 suffer from a diagnosable mental health disorder – that is around three children in every class (Green, et al., 2005). This figure, however, is 10 years out of date and highly likely to be a lot worse than this. At Worth-it we believe that preventing mental health problems at earlier stages is a key priority for mental health and wellbeing. An approach which is recognised in the Government Green Paper on children and young people’s mental health as critical to transformation of Children and Young People’s Mental Health services.
As part of these recommendations schools are being encouraged by government to take responsibility to raise awareness of mental health problems and are also best placed to spot the signs of mental health problems in young people. In the East Midlands schools are the second largest refer to CAMHS after GP’s. Where only 1-3% of young people gain access to services. As Schools are highly influential on the development of young people they an ideal place to develop resilience and promote positive mental health and wellbeing.
In this blog we will demonstrate how our early intervention programmes can help with this.
Worth-it’s approach to early intervention and prevention of mental health problems in schools?
At Worth-It we specialise in using Positive Education to provide evidence based early intervention and prevent mental health problems in young people. Positive education takes the main principles of positive psychology and implements them into the education system through evidence based coaching. This practical approach helps young people overcome barriers to learning and achieve more. It is a powerful intervention which helps young people build resilience and learn skills to improve their mental wellbeing, whilst providing a safe and supportive environment to help nurture the young adult throughout their school lives and beyond.
Our early intervention programmes integrate coaching psychology and positive psychology to provide a holistic approach to improving wellbeing, including targeted interventions to build resilience and improve the mental wellbeing of young people and those at risk of developing mental health problems.
Reducing depression, anxiety and stress at school
School is a big part of a child’s life and not being able to cope at school will have a huge impact. In addition, disadvantaged children face barriers to learning which may include poor parenting, limited access to language, poor literacy levels, poor attendance, low aspirations, low expectations and narrow experience of life outside school. We work directly with young people who may be struggling with these barriers through the targeted interventions.
The graph below shows a cohort of 252 young people aged 13-17 who have completed our group or one to one programmes. The measurement uses the DASS21 which measures levels of Depression, Anxiety and Stress before and after the interventions they have completed. The graph clearly shows a large reduction in levels of Depression, Anxiety and Stress for these young people
Early intervention mental health support for schools
We have several early intervention options for schools. All our programmes are designed to improve wellbeing and resilience. Interventions include one to one or group work support with our team of trained wellbeing practitioners, peer to peer training programmes and one of workshops and presentations.
One to one resilience support
We run in house one to one resilience support sessions for pupils who have been identified as struggling with poor emotional health and wellbeing. Our Wellbeing Intervention practitioners provide weekly or fortnightly sessions with young people, where they coach them to deal with many problems they might be facing that are having a detrimental effect on their mental health, these can include family problems, friendship issues, school attendance, achievement, worries, stress and barriers to learning.
FIRST group work programme
The FIRST programme is a 6 week personal development group programme targeted at vulnerable young people between the ages of 13 – 17. The programme is designed to build resilience through the development of practical coping strategies and solutions that reduce mental health problems such as self-harm, depression, low self-esteem, stress, anxiety and negative thinking.
All our targeted programmes have been a huge success in helping ‘at risk’ vulnerable young people build resilience. One of the huge benefits of our FIRST programme is that it has proven to decrease symptoms of stress, depression and anxiety.
Peer to peer support
Our Wellbeing Ambassadors programme trains young people to provide peer mentoring and support to their peers to develop wellbeing and resilience. Our trainers provide 2 days of training and a resource tool kit which enables schools to run a peer support service over an academic year.
Wellbeing and resilience workshops and presentations
We develop and deliver motivating and engaging workshops and presentations on resilience and wellbeing for pupils. These include wellbeing workshops in primary schools, workshops, presentations and training days in secondary schools. The aim of the workshops it to introduce strategies and resources that help pupils develop their own wellbeing and resilience, ‘planting the seed’ of resilience and self-help.
Benefits of improving mental health of students in schools
Our programmes not only improve mental health, they also develop essential components of resilience and wellbeing these included developing student’s emotional literacy, communication skills, relationships, thinking skills. This is increasingly important to prepare for transitions, exams and making important decisions. Other positive results include improved behaviour and conduct.
This benefits schools are two-fold, as the young people’s wellbeing improves there is an increased engagement in learning is which results in improved achievement, attainment. young people become more resilient and self-reliant they are less reliant on school support therefore school’s capacity to support more students is also increased, freeing up staff and time.
Early Intervention for Your School
We have been running early intervention programmes with great success for 7 years, supporting 1000’s of young people improve wellbeing and resilience. Schools we work with integrate our programmes into a range of services that support student’s mental health, this is seen as best practice by the Department for Education and Ofsted.