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Is resilience the best narrative for mental health in schools right now?

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Running time: 19 mins
Cost: £19 (1 month's access)

About this webinar

The government’s Wellbeing for Education Return Covid-19 initiative which is being rolled-out by local authorities across the UK, includes over 40 references to resilience. But are there other messages that children and young people need in the pandemic, in terms of how to be and what to do with their distress? In this webinar Dr Margot Sunderland, (Co-Director of Trauma Informed Schools UK,) argues that there absolutely are.

Having delivered trauma-informed training to over 20,000 school staff during the pandemic, Trauma Informed Schools UK (TISUK) found that children and young people are increasingly seeking out teachers who are ‘talkable to’ in order to get help with their distress. They say that they don’t feel at all resilient. Instead, they use words like “smashed-up”, “anxious all the time”, “in pieces”, due to the negative impact of Covid-19 on their lives. This situation is underlined by research, in particular that of The Guardian and The Prince’s Trust, who’ve found that during the pandemic, prescriptions for sleeping pills for under-18s has increased by 30%, over a quarter of young people feel they aren’t coping, 41% have experienced self-loathing and nearly a third are now having panic attacks.

Dr Sunderland looks in-depth at school resilient narratives, and the potential harm they can do to the troubled children they purport to support. She will also explore what messages should we be giving children in schools about how to be with their distress in the pandemic? She will argue that we need a narrative in schools that acknowledges profound emotional pain and the child’s need to tell their story and feel really heard and understood in doing so. When suicide is the biggest killer of children and young people under the age of 35, boy, do we need this language for emotional pain in schools. For those who are actively contemplating taking their own lives, the resilience message is at best meaningless and at worst a gross misattunement, fuelling further feelings of alienation from school and from life itself.

To access this webinar please click below (£19 for 1 month's access)


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