Saturday, 26 March 2011

Prevention always!

For years now I've been passionate about emotional intelligence. Something I believe should be taught in schools from the onset. Cause how can anyone learn anything unless they feel safe and secure in themselves?

Recently in the town I live in, one side of town has been working together within all the schools, so from 4 -18 years, with joined up thinking about a whole person education.

There has also being a project launched at county level to look at children's mental health/wellbeing. One of the heads in the collaboration has been instrumental in getting education for teachers about how to; spot,deal and sign post children with difficulties in this area, from an educational perspective. So to be able to identify what teachers can and can't do, and how they seek appropriate help.

I was asked as part of this project to write a mental health policy for all of the schools in the collaboration. As part of my fact finding prior to writing, I requested that I should go and interview the six headteachers, or in the senior schools the lead teacher responsible for pastoral care.

It is thought, that we are now one of the first areas in the country to actually have a mental health policy for schools, and it has been decided that I will present it to all heads in the autumn term. I will also get to present my findings from interviewing the headteachers.

This is where I've got passionate. What I found was they don't have enough emotional support. It is by it's nature a very isolating job, it has to be, there is so much confidential information that cannot by it's content be talked about with colleagues. And depending on their relationship with the chair of governors, they may not get the emotional support they actually need. So I think there is an opening for someone to be able to offer that.

So this week, I've had a meeting with the two heads responsible for this mental health project about future sustainability of the project. I suggested that not only do heads need that extra support, but also teachers themselves need to learn about self esteem, stress management, and other areas of psychological importance. Because I believe that it has to start from the top down, not the bottom up. Children are blank canvasses and part of their security as human beings comes from the relationships they form in schools with staff there.

This will have to be sold to teachers, not as, that any one individual person actually needs it, more that if they have an understanding of how people tick psychologically then it will enable them to be better teachers. A very delicate balance needs to be achieved. As people will find this threatening if they think it is directed at them, which of course it is, but subtlety is the name of the game.

Result of this meeting it that I've been asked to deliver this, the heads support if they decide they want it, and the education of teachers about personal psychology.


This is what I have wanted to achieve, since I did a training day for a whole school staff about 8 years ago, and found out how much they don't know and really do need to know about personal psychology!

To begin with I will only work with staff who are interested in this area, which could be the three heads who think what I'm proposing is a great idea, or it could be a hundred staff! Time will tell. But which ever it is, if I can have an impact on the education of one child, that stops that child becoming someone who in later life has to resort to seeing a professional like me, then I'll be happy.

Preventative work is surely what should happen always, whether it's in relation to our psychology or other area of increasing worry like weight issues. It is a sad testament to British society that the average size of British women has done up to a size 16 from size 12 ( US- 12 and 8 I think) Size 16 is not healthy even if it is average. But that's a discussion for another day


Merry ME said...

Bravo! Mandy. Finding your passion is one thing. Being able to share it with others, to shine a light in the darkness, is delicious!

Mel said...

Even as I read I could feel the passion.
The genuineness to what we believe in with our whole hearts--sells by itself.

You'll do fine.
I'll even wager that if you start with three--more will follow.

Reminds me of the starfish story "Matters to this one."


You rock.
Absolutely and without fail.

karen said...

Hi Mandy! Great to hear about your latest project, and I know you will touch many lives this way!

As usual after being away, I've updated myself on all your posts - loved reading all about your trip to London (that has always been one of my very favourite walks, and sure beats the open top bus, too!). good to get updates on your two young men as well, and to hear you sounding well and happy!

Paula said...

A dream comes true. You worked hard for it. So happy you got there!

Marilyn & Jeff said...

This is brilliant, you are brilliant. I wish you every success as it is so very important. I wish this had been in schools years ago as I would have benefited from it.
Well done!

Beatnheart said...

Everyone needs more exercise, more brain work, more reading, less tv...end of story. Also family time together...activities together. I could go on and on. but one thing is sure, you are doing something in this crazy world and a big, huge shout out for you. Can’t wait to hang with you...we’ve got lots to talk about.

Miss Robyn said...

if you had sold your house and moved to Devon, like you wanted to so badly.. then this opportunity for you to help others would not have happened.. always, always there is a perfect plan. :)

be proud of yourself Pix.. cause I am sure proud of you xoxo
[emailed you]

GaynorB said...

Great work!

I notice that this area is not only needed by pupils, but also by parents, who find it increasingly difficult to support their children. Probably by their teachers too!

I also think you are right to start with teachers who are interested in being involved. These will them be committed to doing what is necessary to make the project succeed, rather than just paying 'lip service' to it.

Perhaps it will eventually filter to my corner of Staffordshire!

Anonymous said...

Well done you! I think it is so important to help youngsters who have low self-esteem especially. Not for any other reason than I watch some of them walk past my window on their way to catch the school bus, and instead of looking smiley and cheerful, most of the time they look downtrodden, like little old people, old before their time. You see them in the village deli getting food for themselves and I could just cry, they look so sad and alone. I always smile at them, and sometimes you get a smile back, sometimes their heads droop down to their chests and they hurry past. I can't remember children when I was in my teens and younger, who looked anything but glad to be alive, and I didn't come from a well-to-do area at all, a council estate in a fishing town. But we all had a zest for life... the impression you get from some of the ones I see is that their zest has already left them, if they ever had it.
I have worked as a counsellor, so know a little about this kind of thing and applaud you for not giving up, but plugging away until you got this result.
And thanks for the comment over on my blog - mrsrunofthemills - that must have been your tum I heard rumbling then, thought it was mine!

TALON said...

What a fabulous idea! What a gift to the students, Mandy!

For so long the emphasis - from every quarter - has been on appearance. Wonderful to think the shift might actually happen to interiors.

Been having issues with Blogger so couldn't comment sooner.

Anonymous said...

I think what you've achieved and your ongoing work in this respect is wonderful. I used to work as a probation officer and always knew that if people had words they could use there would have been less aggression, sort of associated. Today I posted on my blog a newspaper article that I think may intreste you if you haven't already come across it.

Kolley Kibber said...

Marvellous. And so welcome to hear of resources being directed in this direction, given 'the present climate'. I wish there were more initiatives like this - they are vital. As Cicero said, 2000 years ago, "what a society does to its children, its children will do to society." I think we're seeing the evidence around us every day.

Dragonfly Dreams said...

It is so good to hear great news - congratulations! What a wonderful adventure this will be for you!

Angela said...

I wish you had delt with MY head teachers and staff when I was little! With my children`s as well. When you have had some experience with this kind of work, go write a book about it, Mandy! So start taking notes all along. Start even now, to say what your hopes and expectations are, and why you think it is so vital. Let your own experiences come in.
We`ll ALL buy that book.
What miss R said is so right! Good you were not "allowed" to move away. You are needed where you are!
Love from Geli

bodylift said...

This is something good. I like your suggestion.

Zan said...

Way to go Mandy.
Sounds like a brilliant plan, and I agree, all schools should have this!


Pam said...

I'm so with you on agreeing with preventative work being the key Mandy. It is so important in all aspects of society where people of all ages make wrong choices in their lives which ultimately impact the lives of others.
As a teacher, I know that most of us recognize children who have, or will have, challenges but from an Australian perspective,the waiting lists for services are long. Mandatory reporting also goes, through Family Services onto a list of priorities which we often find heartbreaking.
Most teachers are very perceptive and often see the need, but beyond basics, have hands tied as wheels grind slowly.
I know you will be a shiny-light instrument in oiling those wheels.
Many of us think, long after particuluar children with psychological issues in our classes have grown up and moved on with their lives, how they are faring, and in turn,possibly the children they may have had.
I applaud your efforts, and yes, coping with stress would be excellent for many teachers under pressure.
Thank you dear Mandy.

Pam said...

p.s. for what its worth, you'll be pleased to know that the phone didn't ring today and I'll be pigging out on the scones and (Loved your recent London photos).

facial surgery said...

I think you have reached your ongoing work in this area is good. I always used to work as a probation officer know if the people, they can not have less aggressive, sort relevant. Today I posted on my blog a newspaper article, I think it may intreste you, if you have not encountered it.