In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Youthscape’s Luton team will be working closely with local schools over this academic year to help support students with their mental and emotional health. This will take place through our ‘Thrive’ programme, which includes lesson content, resources, videos, activities, and targeted group work. Due to the generosity of The Connolly Foundation, we are able to offer all of this to schools for FREE. To refer a student for targeted support with Thrive, just fill in the form further down this page.
A new curriculum resource for wellbeing
The pandemic has turned the lives of millions of children and young people upside down. Many are finding it hard to cope with isolation, a loss of routine, anxiety about the future, a disruption to their education, and in some cases difficult or traumatic experiences at home.
Early research (Young Minds, May 2020) indicates that more than 80% of young people with a history of mental ill health have found their conditions have worsened since the coronavirus crisis began. But the impact of the pandemic is much wider than that – it is affecting the mental well-being of almost all students in some way. There is growing consensus that supporting positive mental health will be a key issue to address when schools return for the new term.
Compulsory health education, originally due for implementation in September, would have required students of all ages to be taught about mental wellbeing – with an emphasis on promoting the positive link between physical and mental health. The focus of that new curriculum, put in place before the pandemic, will now be more important than ever. Schools will need to find ways to support students as they return to school following the COVID-19 lockdown.
With Thrive, In line with government guidance and the direction of mental health professionals, we are focusing on three key messages for students:
1. Acknowledging and managing the stress and anxiety I may feel as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Stress and anxiety will manifest itself in lots of ways – like poor sleep patterns, behaviour with others, mood, and loss of appetite. Some students will feel very anxious about returning to school after such a long break. Recognising the signs of stress and anxiety is crucial, along with learning how to reduce and manage anxiety, and knowing when and how to ask for help.
2. Understanding the different emotions I’ve experienced through the pandemic.
Adolescent emotional development can be characterised by rapidly fluctuating, intense emotions. Many of these may have been intensified by the experience of the pandemic and lockdown. Students need support to acknowledge these feelings and find safe and appropriate ways to express and explore them. Parents and carers, friendship groups and schools play an important part in this process.
3. Develop healthy habits for my long-term mental wellness.
Positive mental well-being comes from implementing simple but powerful habits in your life. Diet, exercise, communication and other lifestyle practices can make a huge difference. Whilst some young people adopt these easily, other students need support and help to think about what will work for them. This kind of preventative help will be vital in the light of the impact of the pandemic.
Thrive details & referral
Tier 1 of the ‘Thrive’ programme is for all students, and the content is available to all secondary schools in Luton and Bedfordshire. If your school has not yet signed up to receive this, please do feel free to get in contact. You can read more about this programme here, and watch an excerpt from it above.
Tier 2 of the ‘Thrive’ programme includes more targeted support for a smaller number of students within Luton secondary schools, in the form of Therapeutic Groups and an Arts and Wellbeing programme. The team’s ability to deliver this support within the school will be dependent upon capacity, however we will make every effort to work with as many students as possible.
There are four specific programmes to choose from:
- Therapeutic Group ‘Managing Stress’ (for students who have experienced increased stress levels in response to the pandemic and/or their return to school)
- Therapeutic Group ‘Managing Emotions’ (for students who have experienced difficult emotions during the pandemic and have found it difficult to readjust to life at school – not suitable for those who have experienced bereavement)
- Therapeutic Group ‘Managing Anxiety’ (for students who have experienced increased anxiety levels in response to the pandemic and/or their return to school)
- 'Created’ Arts and Wellbeing Programme (a similar model to the therapeutic groups, but using art to help students reflect upon the difficult emotions felt during the pandemic)
Please do complete the below referral form for each student you would like to take part in these groups. We will get back to you to confirm the names of those in each, and to arrange when they will take place.