TO PROVIDE APPROPRIATE TRAINING FOR SCHOOLS, COMMUNITIES AND ORGANISATIONS SO THAT THEY BECOME TRAUMA INFORMED AND MENTALLY HEALTHY PLACES FOR ALL.
This will include:
- Providing vulnerable children with daily access to at least one named, emotionally-available adult, who believes in them, relates to them with compassion, empathy and unconditional positive regard (Carl Rogers), provides appropriate limit setting, understands their attachment and mental health needs, knows their life story, and offers repeated enriched relational, regulatory and reflective opportunities.
- Catching children as they are ‘falling’ not after they have fallen. When the child is experiencing a painful life event, the emotionally-available adult/s will help them process, work through and make sense of what has happened, rather than waiting until the pain of the trauma has transformed into challenging behaviour and/or physical and mental health problems.
- The implementation of a Relationship Policy (Paul Dix) for all staff to ensure they interact with children at all times with kindness and compassion. This includes no shouting, put-downs, criticisms, and shaming. The Policy extends to training staff in the art of good listening, understanding and finding the words to convey accurate empathy.
- A commitment to relating to children in a school or other setting in ways that help them feel calm, soothed and safe, instead of over- stimulated, bombarded and anxious. This means protecting them from toxic stress inducing situations.
- Staff/adults interacting with all children in such a way that they feel valued as individuals throughout their day
- Staff/adults adjusting their expectations of vulnerable children to correspond with their developmental capabilities and experience of traumatic stress.
- Training staff/adults in key conversational skills to enable children to address negative self-referencing and to help them move from ‘behaving’ their trauma/painful life experiences, to reflecting and developing coherent life narratives.
TO SUPPORT SCHOOLS, COMMUNITIES AND ORGANISATIONS IN BECOMING MENTALLY HEALTHY ENVIRONMENTS FOR STAFF BY ENSURING:
- The emotional well-being and stress regulating of staff is treated at all times as a priority. This is to prevent burnout, stress-related absence, and staff leaving the profession through stress-related illness, secondary trauma and/or feeling undervalued.
- Psychologist-lead supervision for those staff who are the key emotionally available adults in the lives of vulnerable children.
- The provision of psycho-education for children and parents as a key preventative measure, informed by over 1000 current research studies (psychology and neuroscience) on mental health and ill-health, diagnoses, emotion, and relationships that heal and relationships that harm.
WHAT IS THE ACE STUDY AND WHY IT’S VITAL KNOWLEDGE FOR TRAUMA AND MENTAL HEALTH-INFORMED SCHOOLS, COMMUNITIES AND ORGANISATIONS
The Adverse Childhood Experiences study, (ACE study) is one of the biggest Public Health studies of all time (17,000 people). The study found that adverse childhood experiences are a leading determinant of the most common forms of physical illness (e.g. cancer, diabetes, heart attacks) mental illness (e.g. depression and anxiety) and early death in the Western World. ACEs are also a leading determinant of homelessness, drug and alcohol addition, smoking, domestic violence and all the major societal ills.
That said, a mass of research studies on social buffering, show that ‘protective factors’, namely interventions by emotionally-available adults, before the age of 18, can interrupt the trajectory from childhood adversity to challenging behaviour, learning difficulties, long-term mental, physical and societal ill-health. Our training courses optimise the role of the emotionally available adult in the lives of children.