We all know that many children and young people are struggling with the pressures of today’s society and their emotional health and lack of adequate support is often headline news.
As a school nurse (and a mother) I get to see these struggles first hand.
As part of completing a Post Graduate Diploma in Child and Adolescent Mental Health at the University of Central Lancashire I designed a tool to be used with children and young people. This tool is a leaflet with the letters BE HAPPY on the front and corresponding words on the back to be completed with the child or young person.
Each letter covers an issue that I have found contributes to some of the difficulties young people can face and all areas are evidence based.
B-Breakfast (in my experience YP don’t have it)
E-Enjoy (in order to feel good you need to do things you enjoy)
H-Healthy (Being physically healthy has a direct link to being emotionally healthy)
A-Achieve (recognising achievements makes you feel good)
P-Positive (looking forward to things helps you stay emotionally healthy)
P-Praise (Everyone is good at something)
Y-You (it is important to be encouraged to be yourself)
By promoting skills regarding how to help to ‘BE HAPPY’, may not only benefit those experiencing current difficulties, but could also act as a preventative measure for those currently without any emotional struggles.
Ultimately the more preventative work regarding emotional resilience that can be done with children and young people, the less need for more in depth support at a later stage. The target group for this flyer is children in year 7 (11-12 years old) as the transition from Primary to Secondary school can be difficult to cope with and self-help skills could be particularly beneficial for a child at that time.
As a school nurse I support many year 7 pupils and the ‘BE HAPPY’ subject areas were identified as a result of the issues that they were bringing to the school nurse. However, this flyer could easily apply to children and young people of any age by using the same messages and I have had positive feedback from children as young as 8 years and as old as15 years.
I have used this resource on a 1:1 basis which has worked very well but it is also equally beneficial in a group setting and can be worked on over several weeks covering one or two ‘letters’ per session.
The actual leaflet/flyer folds down into a pocket sized resource (just to fit a school blazer pocket). Thanks to Pennine NHS Foundation Trust for their support and sharing my vision.