About a year ago, I asked my 8-year old son to draw a picture of what makes life good for him. I suggested he thinks about what makes him feel happy, safe and what he enjoys doing? This is what he drew:
- Our family of three, doing things we love to do together
- Our home, with comfortable furniture and lots of toys
- A table full of food for us to enjoy together
I hope that my husband and I have instilled in my son a sense of how lucky he is to have these things.
However, we all know that not all children are this lucky.
It’s clear we need to bring about a profound transformation in the way we support young children with mental health issues.
There is extensive evidence showing that children from poor backgrounds are at a huge disadvantage when they start school; you can imagine the increased impact of a mental health disorder or a traumatic early childhood. Invincible Me focuses on early identification of issues in children ages 4-11, particularly those children who have suffered childhood trauma.
Because without good mental health, children are not in an optimal position to learn.
To address this challenge, Invincible Me has created a programme focusing on three areas:
First, mental health awareness and knowledge for teachers and childcare workers. Early childhood trauma is the common link for children most at risk for greater mental health problems as they grow up. These traumas, often referred to as Adverse Childhood Experiences, affect nearly 2/3 of all children. There is a clear and documented link between emotional wellbeing and learning, and Invincible Me will help teachers to make that link.
Second, techniques and strategies that can be used to manage challenging or concerning behaviour in the classroom. Research shows that where schools have seen the greatest success is when they have embraced a whole school approach to emotional wellbeing. Invincible Me will take this whole school approach in order to have the greatest impact in every school with which we work.
Third, personal wellbeing and coping strategies for teachers. When teachers are overwhelmed by stress, their ability to build the healthy relationships with children that can be such a protective influence is severely compromised. Invincible Me puts teacher wellbeing at the heart of our programme and knows that a ‘whole school approach’ MUST include coping strategies for the teachers, staff and school leaders, as well as the children.