The ‘Mind Your Head’ programme originated from a need recognised by the Youth & Community services in Gurranabraher, (on the northside of Cork city), where issues around mental health and self-harm had been brought up by young people attending the services in the area. This programme was written and compiled by a youth worker and a community health worker.
This is a resource for exploring mental health issues with young people. It is designed specifically for youth workers, youth leaders, peer educators, and others working with young people. It is made in an accessible format that we hope makes it easy to use and photocopy.
The programme is very much about giving the young people space and time to explore and talk about their concerns and opinions on mental health. It also highlights tools and supports to help them cope and deal with issues that can have a negative effect on their mental health. The programme was created with a moderate to low budget as this allows others to follow our programme session by session without needing major funding to do so.
The information, activities and exercises used come from a variety of sources and various training days. We hope the layout of the session plans and the style used make them accessible and easy for Youth Workers and others to use.
The contents of this resource have been largely informed by the young people we have worked with. Their feedback has influenced and shaped the current programme. Evaluations will continue after each group completes the programme and these will be used to influence the further development of the programme.
“The Mind Your Head programme proved itself to form a major integral component of our Well-being programme. It provides students with the resources and space to discuss important issues in everyday life. The outcome for those involved ensures that young people can develop coping strategies for adolescence and adult life in support of greater resilience while promoting self-esteem and self-confidence. Getting involved with Mind Your Head has been a very positive experience for our school and in particular our Transition Year students. In 2015 we succeeded in receiving the Amber Flag as a result of our active participation in mental health activities including Mind Your Head. It is my belief that our students and our school have reaped great rewards for our involvement in this programme.” – Karen Cronin, Guidance Counsellor, North Monastery Secondary School
Everyone must be alert to the possibility that children with whom they are in contact may be suffering from abuse or neglect. This responsibility is particularly relevant for professionals such as teachers, child care workers, youth workers, health professionals and those working with adults with serious parenting difficulties. It is also an important responsibility for staff and people involved in sports clubs, community activities, youth clubs, religious/faith sectors and other organisations catering for children.
Children First relates to the recognition of child abuse and neglect, the reporting of same to Tusla – Child and Family Agency, and the best practice which organisations should adhere to, to keep children safe while availing of their services.
Non-statutory obligations for all persons coming into contact with children are set out in the Children First Guidance, and the Children First Act 2015 sets out additional statutory obligations for defined categories of persons and for organisations providing relevant services to children. Society has a duty of care towards children and everyone should be alert to the possibility that children with whom they are in contact may be being abused or be at risk of abuse. You can find out more general information in respect of Children First on the TUSLA website.
Facilitators of the Mind Your Head programme must be Garda Vetted and must be certified in Child Protection and other relevant training. When facilitating the programme, always be familiar and adhere to the organisations child protection policy, procedures and safeguarding statements.
“it was good fun”
“it gave me an insight into how things can affect you in ways you can’t imagine”
“It was a nice way to talk and be open minded without the supervision of teachers”
“it helped me a lot with my own life and problems”
“yeh, it really helps you to learn about things you are probably going to come to in life at some point”
“we learned a lot about mental health”
Now I know what [groups, services] I can join in the youth centre
The creation of a group contract is advised. This contract should be youth led but confidentiality should be brought up. The young people should then be made aware of the facilitators obligations in law with regard child protection and the Children First national guidelines: Click here
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