About Thriving Futures

WHO comprehensive framework for health promotion in schools

Thriving Futures is aimed at whole school intervention, sitting in the 'Mental Health Education' part of the World Health Organisation model for schools. 

 

The intention is to introduce students (and teachers) to a overview of what mental health is, how good mental health is developed, what can go wrong and how we can do simple things to begin to put that right.  It is about providing a key knowledge and the language of mental health, so that: 

1. Pupils are able to maintain good mental health in an ever increasing stressful world of exams, social media, peer pressure, negative news, body expectations ...

2. Students that do need more specialised help, be it through school based intervention or through more specialised services such as CAMHS or CBT programmes, are able to access it more easily.

 

Finally, I am not a magician, it is not possible to include lessons on everything you could possibly need, consequently I have included SUPPORT/ ADVICE LINKS to help signpost you to other sites available. As a teacher I often found it difficult to find the support I needed or could direct the students to, so it makes sense to have it all listed together. The list is not exhaustive - there will be plenty of other sites, should you have the time to look.  If you do find a good site that you think others would benefit from, don't be shy - let me know and I'll add it to the list. 

The lessons

As a teacher I understand that lessons rarely run exactly as planned and that teachers tend to adapt lessons according to their own teaching style as well as the needs of the students in front of them.  I have therefore tried to make Thriving Futures as flexible as possible, by basing lessons round a series of images, with options for teaching, and by having a core unit surrounded by satellite units. 

 

The Core Unit does need to be taught first as this contains key ideas that are repeated throughout the other units.  It is RECOMMENDED that the 'Preparing to Teach Mental Health Unit' is taught as an introduction to the core unit.  It is a stand alone lesson, that introduces the topic of mental health, and significantly, sets up the classroom rules for examining what could be a very sensitive issue. 

 

The order in which you look at the satellite units depends very much on the needs of your school. Don't be fooled into thinking the 'staying in control' unit is only for pupils with behavioural issues, it also there to help quieter pupils understand that they too have a voice and why it is important that they don't bottle up their thoughts and feelings. 

 

The other units are still under development, so ensure you look back from time to time, to see what is available.

  • About the author

    I have worked as a teacher for over 15 years, teaching English to a wide range of ability, across a number of challenging schools. However, with the nature of education, putting increased pressure on both teachers and students, it was with great regret that I decided it was no longer the profession for me.

    In 2015, I moved from mainstream education to work in an alternative education project that provided a bespoke curriculim for pupils that found it difficult to access the mainstream. The common linking theme with all the students was poor mental health. Whilst working with these students, I felt frustrated teaching a curriculum that was often irrelevent to the struggles these young adults were facing. In attempting to support these students, I often felt out of my depth and frustrated at the lack of resources/ interventions available to help them deal with emerging mental health issues. It was this that led me to a career change to focus more on mental health.

  • In working with troubled young people, I found I could connect well, having experienced difficulties in childhood that led to depression & anxiety as an adult. In learning to manage my own mental health, I have learnt a number of skills, but I want to develop this understanding so that I can begin to fill the gap that currently exists.

    I am currently training to become a mental health nurse, and am at the start of that journey. It should be stressed that the materials produced here are the result of my teaching experience rather than indepth medical knowledge.

    The content within these materials already exists on the wonderful world wide web, but not, in my experience, in a format that is easily accessible to teachers already spinning many plates. It is my intention to introduce the language of mental health to students, and present an overview of what can cause poor mental health, so that other more specialised services are easier accessed. In doing this I have followed government guildelines as set out in the PSHE Guidance for teaching Mental Health and Emotional Wellbeing. (See link below for more details)

    My goal is to use my years of teaching experience to create high quality resources in a format that will encourage understanding and discussion to aid in the reduction of stigma. It is estimated that 1 in 10 adolescents suffer from a diagnosable mental health condition, a number which is rapidly growing. Hopefully Thriving Futures will be a start in addressing this.

    I hope you find the materials I have written useful, easily accessible, and that you enjoy teaching them. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.