What was the issue that required change?
Children and young people have to deal with a lot of things which can affect their physical and mental wellbeing, particularly at times of major change like moving from primary to secondary. Good support at home, in schools, and across communities can help children and young people learn to deal with negative emotions and stay well. A collaborative team, led by the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service Team Leader within the North Ayrshire Health and Social Care Partnership saw an opportunity,
How did you tackle it?
WRAP (Wellness Recovery Action Plan) is a self-designed prevention and wellness process that supports people to get well, stay well and make their life the way they want it to be.
At the project High School in North Ayrshire, an awareness session was held with first year pupils and their teachers, explaining what WRAP was and how to take part, as it is important to ensure that people want to be involved and are not selected. 14 volunteered, alongside 13 teachers.
The sessions for pupils took place outside the school, during the week with three day-long sessions.
What was the outcome?
From post study interviews, it was clear that the pupils had enjoyed the group and thought it would be useful for other children who may be experiencing issues. The teachers also praised the use of WRAP, with nine indicating they now used the process themselves. They saw the tool as beneficial to pupils and other teachers, but were concerned about fitting it in around other curricular and extra-curricular activities.
To view the final report, please click here.
The project was run by Jacquie Blackwood, then North Team Leader, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service, North Ayrshire Health and Social Care Partnership. She has since moved on, but when asked if being a Catalyst for change has an impact on her, she said “I would say yes, in the sense that it confirmed my belief in the benefit of self help and preparation in advance for adverse events in life… as happen to us all.
I believe the people involved in this type of project gain control easier, build resilience quicker and have a much more reality based concept of normal responses to abnormal situations. There is a danger that as a society we cosset young people and by doing so deny them the opportunity to manage their own health and wellbeing in positive ways….an example would be say a pet dying, absolutely normal to feel loss and be tearful, doesn’t mean there is something wrong with the young person for having these emotions.
I guess I always have worked in this way but more in adult mental health, seeing it happening live here in Ayrshire was illuminating, the way the young people and teaching staff got involved was brilliant, as well as the young people who attended a CAMHS conference and fed back to a pretty large room of people on their experience of WRAP….it was good!