Written by Thrive Consultant® Abi Twomlow
As we prepare to launch our new project ‘Bounce – The Thrive Programme® in Schools’ I want to talk about why Thriving for young people is so important!
After coming from a ten year teaching career I have seen and been involved in the mental health crisis that is happening in schools for myself! To be honest, it is the reason I left the profession and the reason that I took the path that I have into mental health.
I have seen my fellow teachers having to take sick leave for stress, depression and anxiety and there are a growing number of children at younger and younger ages struggling with anxiety, low self-esteem and simply not thriving!
What’s Going Wrong?
There have been so many changes in the education system in recent years to the curriculum, assessment and testing and the goalposts for expectations of children have been vastly moved. Teachers are feeling the pressure to get the results that the schools needs to keep them at expected levels and the system has become increasingly data driven. Throw inspections and OFSTED into the mix and it’s no wonder that teachers are crumbling!
There were many times that I cried on my way to and from work. That I was in work early and working late. I spent the weeks of half term marking assessments and worrying about whether I was doing right and relentlessly writing reports and worrying about the mistakes I might have made and whether I was going to make the deadline. The stress was unbelievable! And all at the same time feeling like I was never good enough at my job. That my children should be learning more. That the ones that were struggling needed to be shown in a way they understood.
With teachers feeling like this, it is no wonder that children are feeling stressed too. Since becoming a Thrive Consultant® I have worked with so many young people who are struggling with mental health in relation to school. They don’t want to go, they don’t enjoy it, they don’t feel good enough, they have little confidence, they can’t sleep. I am even seeing children whose anger and mood is having a huge impact on their day to day life because they simply don’t know how else to cope with things.
What Is Being Done About It?
The problem is that teachers are not trained mental health experts. They work so hard at what they do, but often they are not managing their own mental health well, never mind that of children in their class Now, I’m not suggesting for a minute that they don’t care – they absolutely do! They can see the issues that children are struggling with, but they simply don’t know what to do about it.
The services in place that are available to schools are often aimed at children with special educational needs and are struggling academically. But what about those who are not struggling with their classroom work, but are not coping with their mental struggles?
Often an outside referral is required for children who are struggling with mental health, usually to CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services). These services are so stretched that children can be waiting for up to six months for an appointment and even after this, many are turned down for further support as they are not considered ‘in need’ enough against the criteria.
So what happens to those children? Well, not a lot. The school will often work with parents to help as much as they can, but like I say…. schools are not equipped for this!
How Is ‘Bounce’ Different?
Getting ‘Bounce – The Thrive Programme® in Schools’ is the biggest reason that I became a consultant!
Imagine if all of the staff in the school understood how to build, manage and maintain their own mental health? If they could learn how to deal with stress, if they could understand the way they think and how to change it to a more helpful pattern? Imagine if teachers understood how children’s thinking develops and how mental health issues can begin at a young age.
What if teachers could learn that the way in which they speak to children in the classroom or deal with emotional issues of children could have a completely different, positive and helpful outcome where the child could back up their own positive mental health?
Not only this, but what if members of staff could be trained to be a consultant in their own school to enable them to be able to deal with mental health in house. To be able to work with individuals and groups who were having a difficult time and help them to build positive mental health that they will understand how to nurture and maintain?
A school that promotes and teaches mental wellness. Not only to the children but to the staff too. A school where everyone has the right to Thrive!
That is the kind of school I would have wanted to work in.
Want To Know More?
If you know of a school that would like to find out more about ‘Bounce – The Thrive Programme® in Schools’ then please feel free to share this blog with the Headteacher. Both my aim and the aim of The Thrive Programme® is to get as many people Thriving as possible and what better way to achieve that than through schools.
Please get in touch to find out more