Strengthening Children's and Young People's Inner Hero to power Resilience & Wellbeing

Strengthening Children's and Young People's Inner HERO to Power Resilience & Wellbeing during COVID-19

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The mental health and wellbeing of children and young people is an increasing concern for the schools and organisations that support them. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, mental health problems were already on the rise. But this is even more important now due to the negative impact that COVID-19 is having on children's and young people’s mental health. It has become even more critical and a priority to provide support for children and young people to develop resilience and wellbeing.

Here at Worth-it, we have been working directly to support the resilience and wellbeing of children and young people since 2011. Through our workshops and group work programmes, we have helped over 2000 children and young people in schools, organisations and the wider community. Our experience has provided us with a wealth of practical know how and when we combined this with theory and research from Positive Psychology, it has led us to base much of our direct support on the concept of Psychological Capital (PsyCap) [1].

Strengthening Children's and Young People's Inner Hero to power Resilience & Wellbeing

Strengthening Children's and Young People's Inner HERO to Power Resilience & Wellbeing during COVID-19

Image

The mental health and wellbeing of children and young people is an increasing concern for the schools and organisations that support them. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, mental health problems were already on the rise. But this is even more important now due to the negative impact that COVID-19 is having on children's and young people’s mental health. It has become even more critical and a priority to provide support for children and young people to develop resilience and wellbeing.

Here at Worth-it, we have been working directly to support the resilience and wellbeing of children and young people since 2011. Through our workshops and group work programmes, we have helped over 2000 children and young people in schools, organisations and the wider community. Our experience has provided us with a wealth of practical know how and when we combined this with theory and research from Positive Psychology, it has led us to base much of our direct support on the concept of Psychological Capital (PsyCap) [1].

Strengthening Children's and Young People's Inner Hero to Power Resilience & Wellbeing during COVID-19

Strengthening Children's and Young People's Inner HERO to Power Resilience & Wellbeing

Image

The mental health and wellbeing of children and young people is an increasing concern for the schools and organisations that support them. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, mental health problems were already on the rise. But this is even more important now due to the negative impact that COVID-19 is having on children's and young people’s mental health. It has become even more critical and a priority to provide support for children and young people to develop resilience and wellbeing.

Here at Worth-it, we have been working directly to support the resilience and wellbeing of children and young people since 2011. Through our workshops and group work programmes, we have helped over 2000 children and young people in schools, organisations and the wider community. Our experience has provided us with a wealth of practical know how and when we combined this with theory and research from Positive Psychology, it has led us to base much of our direct support on the concept of Psychological Capital (PsyCap) [1].

Last year, when I was upset, I wouldn't go into the classroom. Now I work with my teacher instead to get on. You don't just give up, even if something is hard.

Year 6 pupil, Leicester 

Last year, when I was upset, I wouldn't go into the classroom. Now I work with my teacher instead to get on. You don't just give up, even if something is hard.

Year 6 pupil, Leicester 

Last year, when I was upset, I wouldn't go into the classroom. Now I work with my teacher instead to get on. You don't just give up, even if something is hard.

What is Psychological Capital?

PsyCap combines the four evidence-based capacities for wellbeing of [6]:

  1. Hope – persevering towards the goals, and when necessary, redirecting paths to goals in order to pro-actively move forward;

  2. Efficacy (self) – having confidence to take on and put in effort necessary to succeed in challenging situations;

  3. Resilience – the ability to bounce back and beyond to attain success when beset by problems and adversity;

  4. Optimism – having a positive outlook and mindset about succeeding now and in the future.

Now known as the ‘HERO’ resources, these resources are key for developing positive behaviour and wellbeing [2] and are much more effective in doing so when developed together rather than when alone [3].

We have found PsyCap to be a simple and effective framework that is easy to introduce with children and young people. Using the HERO model provides an effective, evidence-based framework that supports the teaching of strategies for positive mental health and wellbeing.

What is Psychological Capital?

PsyCap combines the four evidence-based capacities for wellbeing of [6]:

  1. Hope – persevering towards the goals, and when necessary, redirecting paths to goals in order to pro-actively move forward;

  2. Efficacy (self) – having confidence to take on and put in effort necessary to succeed in challenging situations;

  3. Resilience – the ability to bounce back and beyond to attain success when beset by problems and adversity;

  4. Optimism – having a positive outlook and mindset about succeeding now and in the future.

Now known as the ‘HERO’ resources, these resources are key for developing positive behaviour and wellbeing [2] and are much more effective in doing so when developed together rather than when alone [3].

We have found PsyCap to be a simple and effective framework that is easy to introduce with children and young people. Using the HERO model provides an effective, evidence-based framework that supports the teaching of strategies for positive mental health and wellbeing.

What is Psychological Capital?

PsyCap combines the four evidence-based capacities for wellbeing of [6]:

  1. Hope – persevering towards the goals, and when necessary, redirecting paths to goals in order to pro-actively move forward;

  2. Efficacy (self) – having confidence to take on and put in effort necessary to succeed in challenging situations;

  3. Resilience – the ability to bounce back and beyond to attain success when beset by problems and adversity;

  4. Optimism – having a positive outlook and mindset about succeeding now and in the future.

Now known as the ‘HERO’ resources, these resources are key for developing positive behaviour and wellbeing [2] and are much more effective in doing so when developed together rather than when alone [3].

We have found PsyCap to be a simple and effective framework that is easy to introduce with children and young people. Using the HERO model provides an effective, evidence-based framework that supports the teaching of strategies for positive mental health and wellbeing.

A month ago, I didn't want to go anywhere and sometimes I didn't want to get our of bed. I told (support staff at school) and now I'm okay because everything changed. I am confident and resilient now.

Year 6 pupil, Leicester

A month ago, I didn't want to go anywhere and sometimes I didn't want to get our of bed. I told (support staff at school) and now I'm okay because everything changed. I am confident and resilient now.

Year 6 pupil, Leicester

A month ago, I didn't want to go anywhere and sometimes I didn't want to get out of bed. I told (support staff at school) and now I'm okay because everything changed. I am confident and resilient now.

An Example of how PsyCap supports Children's and Young People's Mental Health and Wellbeing

In 2019, we delivered our HERO workshop to two cohorts of 20 pupils at Caldecote Primary, Leicester. The programme was comprised of two 90-minute HERO workshop sessions, to a targeted group of year 5 and 6 pupil children. They have generously provided us with their feedback from both the children and teachers on their experiences of taking part and the impacts that the workshops have had. These have been mapped onto the HERO framework to provide specific examples of how it has helped children and young people to develop their positive mental health and wellbeing.

Hope - Examples include evidence of specific goals and goal striving behaviours such as agency and overcoming obstacles to help achieve personal goals.

"My handwriting was my target. I have got better at it. I can't do my spellings properly yet, but I am confident that I am learning."

"My confidence has went (sic) up in my times tables because I got stuck and so I set it as my target. My teacher helps me practise."

Efficacy - Examples include children’s understanding of personal confidence and awareness of specific situations where their personal confidence has improved.

"It helped me be more confident because before I never really put my hand up but now I do."

Resilience - Examples include specific strategies and understanding that helps to develop personal resilience.

"Resilience is when you lift yourself up again, even if it is hard to do"

"to be confident, courage, never give up"

"to be able to state my feelings"

"you can be confident by trusting yourself"

Optimism - Examples include pupils demonstrating a positive outlook and feeling happier.

"I know now what I can be like and I know all the good things my friends think about me"

"We can think positive things about ourselves, no matter what you've been through"

Feedback from the Teacher who organised the workshops:

"I'm counting the workshops as a success. Yes, all 40 who participated were positive about them after the event and would recommend more workshops like this!"

An Example of how PsyCap supports Children's and Young People's Mental Health and Wellbeing

In 2019, we delivered our HERO workshop to two cohorts of 20 pupils at Caldecote Primary, Leicester. The programme was comprised of two 90-minute HERO workshop sessions, to a targeted group of year 5 and 6 pupil children. They have generously provided us with their feedback from both the children and teachers on their experiences of taking part and the impacts that the workshops have had. These have been mapped onto the HERO framework to provide specific examples of how it has helped children and young people to develop their positive mental health and wellbeing.

Hope - Examples include evidence of specific goals and goal striving behaviours such as agency and overcoming obstacles to help achieve personal goals.

"My handwriting was my target. I have got better at it. I can't do my spellings properly yet, but I am confident that I am learning."

"My confidence has went (sic) up in my times tables because I got stuck and so I set it as my target. My teacher helps me practise."

Efficacy - Examples include children’s understanding of personal confidence and awareness of specific situations where their personal confidence has improved.

"It helped me be more confident because before I never really put my hand up but now I do."

Resilience - Examples include specific strategies and understanding that helps to develop personal resilience.

"Resilience is when you lift yourself up again, even if it is hard to do"

"to be confident, courage, never give up"

"to be able to state my feelings"

"you can be confident by trusting yourself"

Optimism - Examples include pupils demonstrating a positive outlook and feeling happier.

"I know now what I can be like and I know all the good things my friends think about me"

"We can think positive things about ourselves, no matter what you've been through"

Feedback from the Teacher who organised the workshops:

"I'm counting the workshops as a success. Yes, all 40 who participated were positive about them after the event and would recommend more workshops like this!"

An Example of how PsyCap supports Children's and Young People's Mental Health and Wellbeing

In 2019, we delivered our HERO workshop to two cohorts of 20 pupils at Caldecote Primary, Leicester. The programme was comprised of two 90-minute HERO workshop sessions, to a targeted group of year 5 and 6 pupil children. They have generously provided us with their feedback from both the children and teachers on their experiences of taking part and the impacts that the workshops have had. These have been mapped onto the HERO framework to provide specific examples of how it has helped children and young people to develop their positive mental health and wellbeing.

Hope - Examples include evidence of specific goals and goal striving behaviours such as agency and overcoming obstacles to help achieve personal goals.

"My handwriting was my target. I have got better at it. I can't do my spellings properly yet, but I am confident that I am learning."

"My confidence has went (sic) up in my times tables because I got stuck and so I set it as my target. My teacher helps me practise."

Efficacy - Examples include children’s understanding of personal confidence and awareness of specific situations where their personal confidence has improved.

"It helped me be more confident because before I never really put my hand up but now I do."

Resilience - Examples include specific strategies and understanding that helps to develop personal resilience.

"Resilience is when you lift yourself up again, even if it is hard to do"

"to be confident, courage, never give up"

"to be able to state my feelings"

"you can be confident by trusting yourself"

Optimism - Examples include pupils demonstrating a positive outlook and feeling happier.

"I know now what I can be like and I know all the good things my friends think about me"

"We can think positive things about ourselves, no matter what you've been through"

Feedback from the Teacher who organised the workshops:

"I'm counting the workshops as a success. Yes, all 40 who participated were positive about them after the event and would recommend more workshops like this!"

I'm better at saying positive things. I'm funny and gorgeous and nice. I am good at boxing and I enjoy life.

I'm better at saying positive things. I'm funny and gorgeous and nice. I am good at boxing and I enjoy my life

Year 5 pupil, Leicester

I'm better at saying positive things. I'm funny and gorgeous and nice. I am good at boxing and I enjoy my life

Year 5 pupil, Leicester

Why develop Psychological Capital - Evidence

An individual’s psychological/mental health is flexible and can be developed. As PsyCap is strongly linked to self-esteem, emotional balance and wellbeing [7]–[9], developing an individual’s PsyCap helps to develop people’s psychological/mental health [10], [11].

Research shows us that PsyCap can be successfully developed through even short training programmes not only in adults [12], [13], but also in young children, adolescents and students [4], [14]–[16].

When applied to an educational setting, improvements in PsyCap via training has been seen to substantially improve student wellbeing [9], [17], [18]. One way in which developing PsyCap can do this is by changing how students view possible threats. By changing how students percieve possible situations, from one which is hindering to motivational [3], improvements in PsyCap can improve:

  • Pupil wellbeing [9], [17], [18]
  • Pupil behaviour [19], [20]
  • How pupils engage with academic work [17], [21], [22]
  • Academic performance [4].

Why develop Psychological Capital - Evidence

An individual’s psychological/mental health is flexible and can be developed. As PsyCap is strongly linked to self-esteem, emotional balance and wellbeing [7]–[9], developing an individual’s PsyCap helps to develop people’s psychological/mental health [10], [11].

Research shows us that PsyCap can be successfully developed through even short training programmes not only in adults [12], [13], but also in young children, adolescents and students [4], [14]–[16].

When applied to an educational setting, improvements in PsyCap via training has been seen to substantially improve student wellbeing [9], [17], [18]. One way in which developing PsyCap can do this is by changing how students view possible threats. By changing how students percieve possible situations, from one which is hindering to motivational [3], improvements in PsyCap can improve:

  • Pupil wellbeing [9], [17], [18]
  • Pupil behaviour [19], [20]
  • How pupils engage with academic work [17], [21], [22]
  • Academic performance [4].

Why develop Psychological Capital - Evidence

An individual’s psychological/mental health is flexible and can be developed. As PsyCap is strongly linked to self-esteem, emotional balance and wellbeing [7]–[9], developing an individual’s PsyCap helps to develop people’s psychological/mental health [10], [11].

Research shows us that PsyCap can be successfully developed through even short training programmes not only in adults [12], [13], but also in young children, adolescents and students [4], [14]–[16].

When applied to an educational setting, improvements in PsyCap via training has been seen to substantially improve student wellbeing [9], [17], [18]. One way in which developing PsyCap can do this is by changing how students view possible threats. By changing how students percieve possible situations, from one which is hindering to motivational [3], improvements in PsyCap can improve:

  • Pupil wellbeing [9], [17], [18]
  • Pupil behaviour [19], [20]
  • How pupils engage with academic work [17], [21], [22]
  • Academic performance [4].

How wonderful it was to work with you. The children learnt so much from you and we all felt inspired by your enthusiasm… As a school, we were hoping to find someone who could help us to promote a message of self-confidence and self-worth, but also to help the children realise that it is up to them to do their best to think in a positive way. That message was put across so very clearly. We were very lucky to have found you!

Primary School Teacher, Leicester

How wonderful it was to work with you. The children learnt so much from you and we all felt inspired by your enthusiasm… As a school, we were hoping to find someone who could help us to promote a message of self-confidence and self-worth, but also to help the children realise that it is up to them to do their best to think in a positive way. That message was put across so very clearly. We were very lucky to have found you!

Primary School Teacher, Leicester

How wonderful it was to work with you. the children learnt so much from you and we all felt inspired by your enthusiasm ... As a school, we were hoping to find someone who could help us to promote a message of self-confidence and self-worth, but also to help the children realise that it is up to them to do their best to think in a positive way. That message was put across so very clearly. We were very lucky to have found you!

The Origins of Psychological Capital

At the turn of the century, many leading psychologists recognised that too much emphasis was being put on what was ‘wrong’ with people, rather than what was ‘right’ [4]. In an attempt to remedy this, the field of positive psychology emerged [5].

As positive psychology grew, one prominent theory to emerge from it was that of ‘psychological capital’ [1]. Comprising of ‘who you are’ and ‘what you can become’, psychological capital, or PsyCap, helped to fill a gap left by the more traditional theories of capital of ‘what you have’ (economic capital), ‘what you know’ (human capital), and ‘who you know’ (social capital) [4].

The Origins of Psychological Capital

At the turn of the century, many leading psychologists recognised that too much emphasis was being put on what was ‘wrong’ with people, rather than what was ‘right’ [4]. In an attempt to remedy this, the field of positive psychology emerged [5].

As positive psychology grew, one prominent theory to emerge from it was that of ‘psychological capital’ [1]. Comprising of ‘who you are’ and ‘what you can become’, psychological capital, or PsyCap, helped to fill a gap left by the more traditional theories of capital of ‘what you have’ (economic capital), ‘what you know’ (human capital), and ‘who you know’ (social capital) [4].

The Origins of Psychological Capital

At the turn of the century, many leading psychologists recognised that too much emphasis was being put on what was ‘wrong’ with people, rather than what was ‘right’ [4]. In an attempt to remedy this, the field of positive psychology emerged [5].

As positive psychology grew, one prominent theory to emerge from it was that of ‘psychological capital’ [1]. Comprising of ‘who you are’ and ‘what you can become’, psychological capital, or PsyCap, helped to fill a gap left by the more traditional theories of capital of ‘what you have’ (economic capital), ‘what you know’ (human capital), and ‘who you know’ (social capital) [4].

About our HERO Workshops

We have developed effective and practical HERO workshops covering a range of helpful resilience and wellbeing strategies for children and young people. Our HERO workshops can be facilitated online.

Our HERO workshops offer a flexible framework that can be tailored to suit the needs of the school, setting or cohort of children and young people.

We work with schools, charities, FE colleges, youth work organisations, local authorities and the NHS to deliver individual workshops, or programmes of support for children and young people.

About our HERO Workshops

We have developed effective and practical HERO workshops covering a range of helpful resilience and wellbeing strategies for children and young people. Our HERO workshops can be facilitated online.

Our HERO workshops offer a flexible framework that can be tailored to suit the needs of the school, setting or cohort of children and young people.

We work with schools, charities, FE colleges, youth work organisations, local authorities and the NHS to deliver individual workshops, or programmes of support for children and young people.

About our HERO Workshops

We have developed effective and practical HERO workshops covering a range of helpful resilience and wellbeing strategies for children and young people

Our HERO workshops offer a flexible framework that can be tailored to suit the needs of the school, setting or cohort of children and young people.

We work with schools, charities, FE colleges, youth work organisations, local authorities and the NHS to deliver individual workshops, or programmes of support for children and young people.

We're here to help

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Contact us to discuss how we could help you develop wellbeing in your setting.

Get in touch

We're here to help

Image

Contact us to discuss how we could help you develop wellbeing in your setting.

Get in touch

*This article was published in May 2020.

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[9]      I. Nielsen, A. Newman, R. Smyth, G. Hirst, and B. Heilemann, “The influence of instructor support, family support and psychological capital on the well-being of postgraduate students: a moderated mediation model,” Stud. High. Educ., vol. 42, no. 11, pp. 2099–2115, 2017.

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[15]    L. Rew, S. Thompson, A. Brown, and E. Seo, “An intervention to enhance psychological capital in homeless females: preliminary findings,” J. Adolesc. Heal., vol. 54, no. 2, p. S13, 2014.

[16]    S. Dello Russo and P. Stoykova, “Psychological capital intervention (PCI): A replication and extension,” Hum. Resour. Dev. Q., vol. 26, no. 3, pp. 329–347, 2015.

[17]    J. . . . D. Datu and J. P. M. Valdez, “Psychological Capital Predicts Academic Engagement and Well-Being in Filipino High School Students,” Asia-Pacific Educ. Res., vol. 25, no. 3, pp. 399–405, 2016.

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