Strategies for positive mental health and wellbeing include the ability to ask for help as well as accept support from others. This is combined with many personal resources that include using helpful thinking, having a positive outlook, being resilient during challenging times emotional awareness and having self confidence.

Developing wellbeing in children and young people is about supporting them to  be self-aware enough to find wellbeing strategies that help them develop positive mental health or be resilient during challenging situations. The term mental health is often thought to mean mental health problem or a lack of health rather than the presence of strategies for mental health and wellbeing.

Lack of Strategies for Positive Mental Health and Wellbeing 

Unfortunately many children and young people do not know how to develop wellbeing and they have no strategies for positive mental health. This is known as languishing. Anyone who could be classified as languishing is at risk of developing mental health problems due to a lack of strategies to be able to increase their own wellbeing or seek and access support form others.

This lack of strategies for mental health has been exacerbated by COVID-19, time away from school and lockdowns making mental health problems significantly rise in children and young people from 1-10 in 2004 to 1-6 in 2020. And once again we have seen in the news that mental health care is failing those who need it most and a report by NHS England has shown that many young people with mental health issues receive no help at all. Leading to negative future outcomes for many children and young people, childhood mental health problems increase the probability of mental illness in adolescence and then adulthood.

But in order to reduce mental health issues must support the promotion of strategies for mental health and wellbeing, moving children and young people away from languishing and towards flourishing. The earlier this is done the better for prevention and improved prospects for the future generations of children and young people.

Schools’ Role in Helping Develop Mental Health and Wellbeing

Schools are best placed to spot the early signs of poor mental health and emotional wellbeing and changes to the Ofsted common inspection framework in 2019 included the emotional and mental wellbeing of students – for schools to achieve good or outstanding status pupils must learn about emotional and mental health and be able to make informed choices regarding their emotional and mental well-being.

With the correct support, knowledge and training schools can learn the techniques to identify a lack of strategies for mental health and in turn provide languishing children young people with the tools to raise their mental wellbeing through building resilience and promoting resources that build positive mental health and wellbeing.

This is where Worth-it can help…

The Solution ... Positive Education!

Positive Education is applied Positive Psychology within educational settings. Positive Education takes proven evidence-based strategies that develop positive mental health and wellbeing and move children and young people away from languishing and towards flourishing.

An essential part of flourishing is helping children and young people develop personal wellbeing resources. Doing so will support children and young people to increase –

  • Self-awareness
  • Self-reliance
  • Flexible and accurate thinking
  • Ability to focus
  • Positive and optimistic outlook
  • Positive view of self & others
  • Ability to action plan, set and achieve goals
  • Development of positive coping strategies
  • Ability to be resilient during challenging situations
  • Decision making
  • Impulse control and self-regulation
  • Emotional literacy and communication

It is clear that developing these strategies for wellbeing not only help support children or young people who are languishing, increasing them will also help prevent mental health problems from developing. They are also teachable and learnable and can be developed through whole school approaches to wellbeing.

SEARCH Pathways to Wellbeing

We have been supporting 100s of schools and 1000s of children and young to develop strategies for wellbeing for 10 years. At the same time the research and evidence around Positive Education has also been growing and evolving. In 2019 we were looking for a way to organise many of the strategies for promoting positive mental health and wellbeing we were using in our work with schools. We discovered and were given permission to use the SEARCH framework by Water's and Loton.

SEARCH Framework - Pathways to Wellbeing (Waters and Loton 2019)

The SEARCH Pathways to wellbeing are-

  • Strengths
  • Emotional Management
  • Attention and Awareness
  • Relationships
  • Coping and Resilience
  • Habits and Goals

SEARCH is a wonderful research based Positive Education framework that helps schools to develop interventions, whole school wellbeing and wellbeing curriculum. This mean wellbeing can be consistently applied within a school and all children and young people can be supported to move towards flourishing and reducing the impact of mental health problems.

Here at Worth-it, we are committed to helping schools develop the SEARCH pathways in a way that suits the needs of their pupils, staff and whole school community. If you are not sure where to start or how to develop the wellbeing of your pupils you may find our FREE downloadable workshop helpful.

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