Social Sense concludes a successful 12 months project with local secondary schools and youth groups in Salford, addressing emotional health and wellbeing needs.

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Salford Clinical Commissioning Group provided funding to commission Social Sense’s Mindful Me Programme across 12 secondary schools during 2017. The project also worked with 4 local youth groups.

All year 9 pupils were invited to take part in 2 one-hour interactive workshops; an Introduction to Mindfulness followed by a Fusion® Mind Management Group Session.

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Staff were also encouraged to participate in the sessions along with the pupils to act as positive role models.

This concludes the first part of the project, with the second part focusing on training staff and the Mindful Me app for sustainability.

Why was it funded?

The Child Health Profile (2015) states the health and wellbeing of Salford children is worse than the England average. Salford was ranked 22nd most deprived out of 326 Local Authority areas in England (English Indices of Deprivation 2015 (IMD)).

This, together with increasingly high crime statistics, paints a worrying picture for the healthy development of Salford young people

The aim of Mindful Me was to contribute to Salford’s locality plan in building character, resilience and improving mental wellbeing.

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The 2017 project

The project started with all the schools completing a 15-20-minute baseline survey to assess their emotional wellbeing and levels of distress. Developed using Warwick Edinburgh and ONS standards, the questions cover a range of topics including levels of happiness, anxiety, self-harm, resilience and personal relationships.

Key findings from the baseline survey included:

  1. Pupils valued their families, with 77% saying they were happy with the relationships with family members. (Q133)
  2. Self-value amongst pupils was good with 72% saying they respected themselves. (Q332)
  3. General happiness was relatively good with 66% of pupils saying they were happy with their life. (Q334)
  4. Levels of anxiety were high as 79% said they had felt worried at some point over the last week. (Q335)
  5. Resilience levels could be significantly improved with just 53% saying they can recover quickly from difficulties in their life. (Q336)

The programme worked with 1900 school pupils (year 9s) directly across twelve schools in Salford. They received the surveys and intervention including take away materials for sustainability.

We also worked with approximately 150 children and young people across four local youth clubs in Salford. They also received the intervention and take away materials.

The first session introduced pupils to mindfulness, which is simply paying attention to the present moment in a compassionate and non-judgmental way. Pupils learnt useful tools and techniques to help them reduce stress and anxiety, and create happiness using the latest findings in neuroscience known as ‘hardwiring for happiness.’

The Fusion® Mind Management Group Session taught pupils how to manage difficult emotions such as anxiety, sadness, and anger by educating them on the rational and emotional sides of the brain. Developed by BACP accredited expert psychotherapist Frances Masters, the Fusion® model represents a new solution-focused model of support which combines the best of counselling and life coaching.

It was then time for the same cohort to complete a second survey to measure any change in mood. The results were astounding!

Group Sessions Results

The on the day feedback and the repeat survey highlighted some excellent outcomes including:

  • 7% reduction shift in self-harming.
  • On a self-confidence scale of 0-10 (Where 0 is “not at all” and 10 is “completely”), 58% of pupils scored themselves at 7 or above, in comparison to 57% in the baseline survey.
  • 36% said they would use the techniques at least once a week.
  • 85% of pupils found the Fusion® Group Session
  • 62% rated that their confidence in managing mood 7 or above following the Fusion® Group Session.
  • Nearly 3 quarters (73%) said they respect
  • Positively, being worried about loneliness decreased from 8% to 7% between the baseline and repeat survey

In summary, our findings show that many pupils found the group sessions beneficial and some have continued to use the techniques learnt!

Social Sense will now focus on the second part of the project which will explore sustainability by training, embedding and the Mindful Me app.

Salford CCG and Salford CVS as part of their Little Pot of Health funding have provided the chance for all the schools in this project to undergo staff training sessions and embedding support. This will be a 2-hour training session offered 2 members of staff from each school to introduce them to the techniques covered and ideas for embedding these across their schools. Social Sense will also work with local public and VCSE sector as well.

We also recommended building on the first part of the project through use of our Mindful Me app which will encourage sustainable and enhanced self-care, and peer to peer support. There are also opportunities to promote social action through the app in terms of promoting local volunteering and extra-curricular activities.

By Reece Hobson.

 

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