The Better Outcomes, Brighter Future report clearly states that Child and teenage mental health is seen as one of the most crucial areas that need to be addressed in our educational system. Learning the fundamentals of what mental health is and how to develop mental healthiness is as important to healthy growth as is learning and practicing physical health.
Failure to achieve good mental health leads us to develop structural and functional vulnerability in our adolescent brain which is uncovered when various stressors are encountered.
The vast majority of people can be helped to overcome their distress through ‘ low intensity’ interventions delivered by primary care providers. Evidence shows that teaching a simple model that explains the fundamentals of mental health can be as effective as the full psychotherapeutic package delivered by health professionals.
Research shows that the vast majority of children can be helped to overcome their distress through ‘low intensity’ educational programmes such as this.
What makes these programmes unique is that they focus on providing education and support direct to the people who have the most contact with the adolescent, namely parents and teachers. This is a much more effective method of helping adolescents as it utilizes relationships that are already established in the teenagers’ life.
This facilitates a change in mindset where mental health and its components are more fully understood and implemented in day to day life
Each programme has four parts and will use a stepped education approach. Each component will be built on the same model and will be complimentary to each other. It must be stressed that the aim is not to teach participants to act as therapists. Psycyhotherapy is a skill that takes many years to learn. The aim is to teach people to act as more effective listeners and educators similar to the way they are now.
This facilitates a change in the recurring nature of challenges encountered by parents and teachers. It provides a structure whereby specific problems can be more easily identified and more effectively addressed. The course is open to all parents, teachers and community groups who have direct contact with children/teenagers, and wish to expand their understanding of child and adolescent mental health.
The Programme has four principal learning aims:
- To facilitate primary mental health care and education through understanding the dynamics of good mental health.
- Simplify complex psycho dynamics into a jargon free format which is easy understood by parents, teachers and adolescents.
- Identify complex mental health issues and put them into a simple framework from which specific problems can be identified.
- Provide practical CBT skills which can be used in treating these problems.