We want adults and young people to feel comfortable talking about their mental health, to reduce stigmas and to know it is okay to ask for help.

If you work with young people aged 10 to 16, you can use this guidance to help improve their emotional wellbeing. Supporting young people early on can help them to build resilience and prevent mental health issues in adulthood.

The guidance you choose will depend on the type of work you do, whether you work as a community service worker or in a school.

Early Help and voluntary community service workers

If you work in an Early Help setting such as a children’s centre or offer a service in the community, such as a Scouts group, gymnastics class or Karate club, the HeadStart Kent resources can support you to make a difference early on in a young person’s life.

The following steps and tools will help you kickstart your plan:

1

Familiarise yourself with the HeadStart Kent programme

The first stage is to explore this website. It will provide you with an understanding of what resilience is, and how you as a practitioner can have a resilience conversation . It offers information that you can share with young people and parents/ carers to help improve their resilience. For example, advice on mastering the art of mindfulness, and how to maintain balanced family and personal relationships, as well as how to access a range of training to support you.

In addition, you will be able to access information on local Speak Out   groups, and how to apply for a Pay It Forward grant.

Find out how the HeadStart programme has helped young people in Kent with our best practice examples and case studies.

Access training & tools

HeadStart Kent is making a range of training approaches available to support the children and families workforce in Kent. This is to equip practitioners and staff with the knowledge and skills to be able to promote emotional resilience and respond to young people finding it hard to manage the pressures in their daily lives at the earliest opportunity.

The training includes:

  • Resilience Conversations
  • Mindfulness
  • Youth Mental Health First Aid.

We may also find the following free resources useful:

2

Use the Resilience Conversation Tool with young people

The Resilience Conversation Tool supports you to have conversations with a young person to identify their resilience strengths based on these 6 key areas:

  • feeling secure
  • education
  • friendships
  • talents and interests
  • emotions & behaviours
  • health

We have 2 tools available for you, a Resilience Conversation tool and a self-reflection tool .

Early Help workers have been using this tool either by itself or with the Three Houses Tool to record the young person’s voice. According to feedback from young people and workers it encourages a natural conversation and is a visual tool they understand. Young people aged 10 to 16 living within a HeadStart district or attending a HeadStart school can access HeadStart services if needed when they have had a Resilience Conversation, in addition to the services locally available.

What you can access after having a resilience conversation

At present we offer services in Gravesham , Swale, Ashford, Canterbury, Folkestone & Hythe, Maidstone and Thanet. However we’ll be rolling the programme out to Dover and Tonbridge and Malling in 2019.

We provide a bespoke service to individuals and groups depending on their circumstances. We’ll offer intensive and volunteer mentoring, family school transition group work, talents and interest grants and online counselling.

3

Ensure the voice of young people is reflected in the way services are designed and delivered

When the voice of a young person is captured and acted on they are more likely to feel a sense of ownership with the outcomes. This gives them more confidence in the approach used.

The service for young people will be improved and the demands on support services in the long run will be reduced.

Schools

Pupils with better health and wellbeing are likely to achieve more academically. This can contribute to an improvement in attendance and attainment.

“Schools that have programmes that directly improve students’ social and emotional learning demonstrate 11% higher in exam results.” (The link between public health and wellbeing and attainment, Public Health England, 2014).

Follow these steps to support 10 to 16 year olds in your school to cope better with the pressures of everyday life.

1

Complete the Resilience Toolkit

The HeadStart Resilience Toolkit is a process that helps you assess your setting's approach to resilience and wellbeing. Starting with this will help you to step back and strategically look at where you are in the world of resilience.

The tool will help you to join up your approach, plan school-wide change and help you to forward plan. As you go through the evaluation part of the process you will notice gaps to cover in an action plan.

We want adults and young people to feel comfortable talking about their mental health, to reduce stigmas and to know it’s okay to ask for help. HeadStart can help with this by supporting you to introduce a named pastoral worker, mindfulness, safe spaces and peer mentoring programmes in schools .

2

Develop processes that help you to identify young people who may need support early on

The sooner you engage with young people to support them to deal with their emotional wellbeing, the more effective your input will be.

3

Use the Resilience Conversation Tool with young people to build on their strengths

The Resilience Conversation Tool supports you to have conversations with a young person to identify their resilience strengths based on these 6 key areas:

  • feeling Secure
  • education
  • friendships
  • talents and interests
  • emotions & behaviours
  • health

We have 2 tools available for you, a Resilience Conversation tool and a self-reflection tool.   The self-reflection tool has been developed specifically with schools in mind, following feedback from schools using these tools for the past 2 years.

Feedback from young people and workers is that it encourages a natural conversation and is a visual tool they understand. A resilience conversation will not always result in actions but can be used as a check point with young people if you have concerns.

If you do feel that a young person needs additional support, use your usual procedures to access support locally and if the young person is attending a HeadStart school, HeadStart services are also available.

What you can access after having a resilience conversation

At present we offer services in Gravesham, Swale, Ashford, Canterbury, Folkestone & Hythe, Maidstone and Thanet. However we’ll be rolling the programme out to Dover and Tonbridge and Malling in 2019.

These services are bespoke to individuals and groups depending on their circumstances. We’ll offer intensive and volunteer mentoring, family school transition group work, talents and interests grants and online counselling.