Stress Control in Schools – approaches to support young people, teachers and parents
Originally developed for adults within the NHS, ‘Stress Control’ is about training and supporting individuals to become more emotionally resilient; to understand stress and to be able to manage their own feelings and thoughts – essentially, to develop the skills to become their own therapist.
Piloted in St Paul’s High School in Pollok, a new version of the programme has recently been developed for schools – providing eight dedicated PSE lesson plans teaching generic stress control skills to pupils; as well as training teachers in stress control techniques, ensuring schools can deliver early mental health interventions at no extra time or cost. Parents are also engaged as part of the programme in an attempt to ensure pupils, parents and teachers benefit from sharing similar skills and a similar language around mental health.
Specially designed in partnership with Dr Jim White, the Consultant Clinical Psychologist behind ‘Stress Control’, this half-day training seminar will offer delegates a taster of the Stress Control in Schools programme. Using a mix of presentations and interactive roundtable sessions, the seminar will explore:
- What is stress? And how can it be managed?
- The aims, outcomes and lessons learned from the Stress Control in Schools pilot project
- The advantages of teaching generic stress control skills to secondary pupils and consider whether classes should be extended to younger, primary-age children
- Widening stress control classes to develop a holistic approach to mental health in schools
- The benefits to, and practicalities of, teaching pupils, parents and teachers similar skills and a similar language around mental health
- Next steps and how you can take this forward in your school
|DR JIM WHITE, Consultant Clinical Psychologist, Stress Control|
PAULINE LOGAN, Deputy Head Teacher, St Paul’s High School
Anxiety. Depression. Panic. Sleep problems. Low self-confidence and low self-esteem. Whether it is caused by schoolwork pressures, ubiquitous digital lifestyles, body image concerns or something else entirely, increasing numbers of young people in Scotland are stressed.
UK figures published earlier this year show that over half of mental health problems start by the age of 14. In Scotland, the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) study by the University of St Andrews has evidenced worrying trends in Scottish adolescent’s mental health.
Whilst most measures show those starting secondary school feel reasonably contented, by 13 years old both boys and girls reported a fall in their levels of happiness and confidence. By the age of 15, these trends worsen, with girls reporting a significant rise in psychosomatic health complaints. Of the 33 countries studied, Scotland was not the worst – but worryingly the deterioration of teenager’s mental health and wellbeing appears steeper in Scotland than anywhere else.
With Educational Psychology services and Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAHMS) under real pressure, there is often little resource available to go into early intervention and prevention work around young people’s mental health and wellbeing. Children and young people presenting with ‘moderate’ problems can go unseen and when these issues go unaddressed, problems can deepen and multiply, often leading to damaging behavior and – on occasions – escalating into a mental health crisis.
But what if young people were supported and trained to become more emotionally resilient, to understand stress, to be able to manage their own feelings and thoughts and to become their own therapist?
Dr Jim White, Consultant Clinical Psychologist, Stress Control & Pauline Logan, Deputy Head Teacher, St Paul’s High School
- Aims and first steps
- Training teachers and delivering the eight weekly, single period classes
- Project outcomes and lessons learned
- Further developments and next steps
Detailed examination of Stress Control in Schools Session 1: “What is stress?”
- How do you know if someone is stressed?
- The jigsaw
- Stress Control in nine words (face your fears, be more active, boost your wellbeing)
- What are the advantages/disadvantages of this approach?
- Are there any challenges or barriers to achieving this?
- Should classes be extended to younger (including primary-age) pupils?
- Signs and symptoms
- Caffeine and exercise
- Belly breathing
How the class works – “Controlling your Thoughts”
- Signs and symptoms
- Everyday mindfulness: stop and smell the roses
- Mindful belly breathing and Leaves in the stream
How the class works – “Controlling panicky feelings”
- The TAB model: Thoughts, Actions and Body
- Combining the skills
How the class works – “Boosting your wellbeing”
- Flourishing and Languishing
- Four a day
- Compassion and gratitude
Comparing the pupil and adult versions of ‘Stress Control’. Detailed examination of Session 4: “Problem Solving”.
- Avoidance and Behaviour
- Face your fears
- Problem Solving
- Do we need a holistic approach to mental health in schools?
- What are the benefits to, and practicalities of, teaching pupils, parents and teachers similar skills and a similar language around mental health?
- Are there any challenges or barriers to achieving this and how can we help?
Summary, individual and group reflections and next steps
Dr. Jim White is an internationally-recognised expert in managing common problems such as stress, anxiety and depression. Aware that health-care organisations were seeing only the tip of the iceberg in terms of those suffering from stress and, therefore, unable to do any significant preventative or early intervention work, he devised Stress Control thirty years ago as an attempt to improve outcomes for individuals while, at the same time, hugely improving efficiency by offering evidence-based help to many more people than individual approaches would allow. At the time, this was a highly unusual approach but peer-reviewed research and evaluation showing that efficiency and effectiveness could be improved upon, the class has become widely available across the world. A recent Stress Control class in Malahide, Ireland, attracted 450 people.
Jim has presented at many national and international conferences and events and acted as a National Advisor to the Scottish Government. He was involved with the European Union on how to develop mental health services across Europe using interventions he has devised including Stress Control. He has published over 40 articles in peer-reviewed journals and has written three influential books on stress management –StressPac, Harcourt Brace, 1997; Treating Anxiety and Stress, Wiley, 2000 and ‘Stress Control: a mind, body, life model to boost wellbeing’, Robinson, 2017. He co-edited The Oxford Guide to Low-intensity CBT Interventions, Oxford University Press, 2010.
Jim worked for over thirty years as a Consultant Clinical Psychologist with the NHS and was the originator of the highly innovative and successful ‘Glasgow Steps’ approach to common mental health problems – an approach increasingly copied across the world.
Stress Control emerged in the 1980s as part of a PhD project looking at ways to help many more people within existing NHS resources. This large-class cognitive-behavioural approach where people did not have to discuss their personal problems but, rather, learned about the common problems of anxiety, depression, panic, poor sleep and poor wellbeing and a range of skills to deal with them was perhaps the first of its kind in the world but now, with a significant evidence-base behind it, it is increasingly used across the globe. With recent research showing it works as well as individual therapy and that it works well for mild, moderate or severe anxiety and depression, it is one of the most cost-effective treatments used in mental health. And with the concept of ‘becoming your own therapist’, long-term outcomes look even better than those associated with existing therapies.
Building on the standard version for adults, we now have dedicated versions for use in prisons, Universities, on-line and pure self-help. Planned studies looking at the use of Stress Control for those with long-term medical conditions such as diabetes, angina, asthma and epilepsy will potentially offer help to those people who often have significant mental health issues aggravating their physical health problems. We are continuing to work closely with schools and child and adolescent mental health services to provide evidence-based mental health approaches for teenagers to try to intervene much earlier and, perhaps, help prevent mental health problems from developing in the first place.
EARLY BIRD DISCOUNT
The early bird discount for this event ended on Friday 25 August 2017.
(Commercial organisations – Ltd, plc, LLP etc)
(Central government departments and agencies, local authorities, NHS, police, universities and colleges etc.)
(Charities, voluntary and community groups, tenant and patient groups, professional bodies, trade unions etc)
SPECIAL RATES (note: other promotional offers, including early bird discounts, are not valid with special rates)
Available to all attendees from schools
35 Young Street North Lane
Tel: (0)131 226 8480
Haymarket Station – Approximately 10 minutes walk.
Waverley Station – Approximately 10 minutes walk.
Edinburgh Airport – Approximately 20-25 minutes away.
See google map above.