How Worth-it provided support and resources for success!
In 2018, Worth-it Positive Education CIC was commissioned to develop and deliver a train the trainer programme in partnership with Bedford Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) and local schools. Key members of staff, such as CAMHS school link and early help team from the local authoity, were trained to train peer mentors within schools.
Bedford CAMHS identified a need for a train the trainer programme to improve the peer-to-peer support within schools. Peer support programmes are those that train young people to help others learn and develop emotionally, socially or academically.
Peer Mentoring is a form of early intervention for young people and helps to normalise conversations about mental wellbeing – young people learn positive strategies from peers, as well as having an opportunity to talk about worries, concerns and things that might be bothering them, or preventing them from speaking to an adult or accessing specialist services.
Worth-it Positive Education CIC were commissioned to deliver training to 20 trainers so they could return to their settings and train young people to provide support to their peers in the shape of informal mentoring interventions, lunchtime drop-ins and mental health and wellbeing campaigns.
We combined coaching psychology and positive psychology techniques to produce a peer mentoring train the trainer programme – our Wellbeing Ambassadors Programme – that was developed and delivered across 10 secondary school settings. This included 4 days of training for the facilitators by our consultants, creation of resources for facilitators, Wellbeing Ambassadors and their peers. Once trained, the facilitators delivered the programme in their school, using the coaching and mentoring skills they’d learned and the resources we supplied. This was also delivered with multi-agency team training, for the local authority early help team and CAMHS school link team.
Before the programme was delivered, questionnaires were completed by control groups and the pupils who would be receiving peer support and then again after the programme had been delivered, so we could measure the impact of the intervention and build up a clear picture of how beneficial the programme had been. The Wellbeing Ambassadors were also surveyed before and after taking part in the programme, along with the programme coordinators (facilitators).
Figure 1: Average Younger Peer Stirling Children’s Wellbeing Scale scores before and after the programme
Figure 2: Average Worth-it Resilience Profile Scores: Comparison of Younger Peers against Year 7 Control Group
The Younger Peers and Wellbeing Ambassadors described a host of personal benefits gained from participation in the programme.
One of the main terms used in the qualitative feedback from the younger peers was confidence:
When asked, what have you learned/gained from taking part in the Wellbeing Ambassadors programme, many of Younger Peers also highlighted how having someone to talk to had really helped them:
The students who had been trained as Wellbeing Ambassadors also found the experience a positive one:
The Programme Coordinators were asked, what impacts have you noticed the programme having so far on the younger Peers who received support?
Evaluation data was returned from 5 settings, covering 31 Younger Peers, 21 Wellbeing Ambassadors and 4 Programme Coordinators.
The measures and scales used for this evaluation were:
The Stirling Children’s Well-being Scale* (SCWBS) was developed by the Stirling Council Educational Psychology Service (UK) as a holistic, positively worded measure of mental wellbeing in children and has been validated as a robust measure and is part of the Public Health England & Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families toolkit for measuring and monitoring children and young people’s mental wellbeing in schools and colleges.
*(Liddle, I. and Carter, G.F.A (2015). Emotional and psychological wellbeing in children: the development and validation of the Stirling Children’s Wellbeing Scale. Educational Psychology in Practice, 21(2), 174-185)
The Worth-it Resilience Profile (WRP) compliments the SCWBS by monitoring levels of abilities and skills which are important facilitators of wellbeing and resilience. The WRP is based on a set of interrelated abilities and skills that research has shown young people find helpful in increasing choice and control over their thoughts, feelings and behaviour and in helping them deal with situations.
Qualitative surveys were created to collect rich and personal feedback from the Wellbeing Ambassadors, the younger peers supported by the programme and the programme coordinators. These surveys enable participants to express their personal perspectives regarding their experience of the programme.
Younger Peers - Before and after SCWBS and WRP measures, plus a post programme qualitative survey.
Year 7 Control Group - Before and after SCWBS and WRP measures.
Wellbeing Ambassadors - Before and after SCWBS and WRP measures, plus a post programme qualitative survey.
Programme Coordinators - Post programme qualitative survey.
The purpose of an early intervention approach is to work in partnership to improve outcomes for children, young people and families. The aim is to address problems at the earliest opportunity before they escalate and help to prevent long-term poor outcomes.
Our approach to early intervention is to prevent the development of mental health problems through promoting strategies that improve mental wellbeing and, in doing so, protect against mental illness. All our work helps children and young people move up the mental health spectrum towards flourishing.
Adapted from Keyes (2007)