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Schools combat stress with mindfulness

22 May 2018

​An internationally recognised eight-week course called ‘Making Friends with Yourself’ is being offered to students aged 11 to 19 to help reduce their feelings of stress and anxiety. It is an interactive and fun course designed to help them learn how to manage difficult feelings, understand themselves and cope better with the ongoing challenges of their day to day life.

The course, also called ‘Mindful Self-Compassion for Teens’, is led by Steve Wharmby, a Primary Mental Health Worker with the Education Department’s Psychology and Wellbeing Service. He is a trained teacher in Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) and is one of only 100 people in the world who is trained to deliver this course, which has been specially adapted for young people.

Mr Wharmby said “Adolescence is a developmental period, which can feel like a struggle for many young people. Teenagers have a heightened self-consciousness about how they look, what they say and how others perceive them. They can easily feel isolated or embarrassed. This course can help young people cultivate improved emotional strength, resilience and life satisfaction.”

The first school to pilot the new course is Victoria College where 13 boys in Years 7 to 9 have volunteered or been suggested by their parents or teachers.

Tom Fallon, mental health lead at Victoria College, said “Early feedback has been positive. The boys have enjoyed it and are keen to continue. This course is suitable for all students and is particularly beneficial to those who may be, for various reasons, more vulnerable to mental health problems.”

All secondary schools have been offered the programme and Victoria College started in early May.

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