Children as young as 5 are being given resilience training in school after becoming angry during the pandemic
This is the woman teaching Lancashire's primary school children how to be resilient.
Children as young as five are now being given mental health talks as part of a new campaign by Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust.
(LSCft).It comes as demand for children’s mental health services has increased dramatically over the last few years.
LSCft launched Start and Ready Talks programmes to promote prevention and early intervention amongst young children, teaching them valuable life skills such as as recognising emotions, communication, coping skills, resilience and awareness.
Psychologist Naomi Hardman who is leading the programme said: "Some children are angry after the pandemic, their screen time has increased and some social skills are lacking.
"We are already seeing the benefits from the sessions as the children are all willing to participate and are learning valuable skills they can use time and time again through childhood and adult life.”
The Start and Ready talks have already helped over 400 primary school children and feedback from teachers and children has been overwhelmingly positive.
What does a head teacher reckon?
Sharon Barnett is the Head at The Willows Catholic Primary School in Kirkham.
She said: "Since the children have been having Start and Ready talks we’ve noticed a real difference in children being able to articulate their thoughts and their feelings to a level we normally wouldn’t expect.
"They’re very articulate and they’re able to define emotion and say how they’re feeling about something. Thanks to these talks they even have some strategies for coping, they’re building resilience and learning valuable life skills.
"The children want this, they love these lessons, they recognise that the pressures in life days – it’s been difficult and they’ve lived through Covid.”
When did it start?
The 10 week Start and Ready talk programmes were launched in the autumn as a pilot following the Trust's Change Talks programme, which began four years ago in high schools with the mission to revolutionise the way we think, talk and act about mental health for young people.
Start Talks topics are age appropriate, interactive and delivered within 20 minutes to be engaging.Ready Talks is designed for children in school years 5 and 6 to prepare them for high school through 30 minute sessions. The topics covered at this stage are an expansion from Start Talks but will include additional material on risk taking behaviours, online safety and gaming.
Both programmes were co-produced with young people with lived experience including from schools as well as young people from LSCft’s Youth Voices group.The main focus of Start and Ready talks is to reduce stigma, increase awareness and promote positive coping strategies through workshops delivered in schools.
“Start difficult conversations”
Naomi added: “The sessions which were co-produced by young people for their peers -are structured and designed to be relatable and often help start difficult conversations and conversations some parents might find tricky to initiate at home.“We want to educate children about mental health, resilience, communication and coping mechanisms as we know making children aware of their mental wellbeing from a young age can have a positive impact on their life. I want to be the influential person I wish I had when I was younger and I can’t wait to share this with more children over the coming years.”