Mind Your Head - Facilitators

HOW TO USE THIS RESOURCE

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 Ethos


  • Youth Participation & Consultation 
  • Non-Judgemental
  • Respectful 
  • Empathy 
  • Based in Equality 
  • Partnership – between organisations, schools, young people 
  • Based on Youth Work Practices & Principles 
  • Community Development Perspective

Testimonials


“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

Aims of the Mind Your Head Programme


  • To facilitate an interactive fun programme on the subject of mental health that would engage young people in a meaningful way 
  • To provide a safe and supportive space for young people to explore their concerns and ideas about their own mental health 
  • To highlight coping tools and supports that young people can use in their everyday lives to maintain good mental health 
  • To communicate accurate information and knowledge on the subject of mental health 
  • To work in partnership with the young people in order for them to have as much input as possible into the programme 
  • To raise awareness and understanding of the importance of good mental health
  • To raise awareness of local community supports available to young people in their own area.

Child Protection & Best Practice


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.

WHAT STUDENTS SAID

“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

WHAT WORKED WELL

  • The young people co-facilitating the activities/exercises 
  • Ensure that there is a child protection policy in place. 
  • Asking for feedback from the previous week at the beginning of each session
  • Reviewing the workshops half way through proved vital for tying the whole programme together
  • The variety of activities and resources used, and the range of topics covered meant that everyone responded and had input at some point or another 
  • The use of written, visual and discussion-based methods catered for all learning types in the group
  • The mixture of working in pairs, small groups and as a large group helped give everyone the opportunity to participate and created different group-dynamics from week to week.
  • Practical techniques to relieve stress and relax.
  • Creating their own peer support (in one case it was posters) and sending them out to various other youth groups gave the group maximum ownership over their learning.
  • Allowing for flexibility during the sessions to deal with issues/questions that come u

 

THINGS TO WATCH OUT FOR WITH REGARD TO CHILD PROTECTION

  • The limitation of time
  • The number in the group needs to be manageable. This depends on various factors such as; the needs of the young people, the space available, the number of workers etc.
  • Ensure there is enough practical and appropriate activities and information for each session.
  • Issues arising for the young people after group sessions
  • Ensure the group know what supports are available to them
  • Ensure that there is follow up to any questions the young people have asked
  • Ensure that there is a child protection policy in place

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


When Suicide comes up as a subject:


  • Stop the group and state that something important has just been mentioned 
  • State that suicide does happen for many different reasons 
  • Discourage discussion of any known suicides 
  • State that you are going to talk briefly about helping people who may be thinking about suicide
  • State clearly: People who are thinking about suicide are still alive and with professional help will be more likely to be still alive for a very long time to come. 
  • Ask rhetorically: What does someone thinking about suicide need? State: someone to listen… someone to care… to be taken seriously…
  • Ask rhetorically: What if the person asks you to keep it secret? 
  • State Clearly; o You cannot keep an issue like this secret. o Holding that secret will not make you feel good o The fact that the person is telling you they have thoughts of suicide is part of them asking for help! o When a person is thinking of killing themselves, they are not thinking clearly, and they are not in control of their thoughts. They need help from people around them in finding professional help. o You should be discreet, but you must tell someone: the school counsellor, teacher, youth worker, a trusted adult o You can also talk to myself (facilitators name) or my colleague (Co-facilitators name) 
  • If in doubt check with a support number; Pieta House Suicide Helpline 1800 247 247 text 51444 or Childline 1800 66 66 66 or text 50101 or chat online : childline.ie
  • You can help by listening and encouraging them to accept help but always remember you have to tell a trusted adult and if possible a professional

MIND YOUR HEAD
A Resource for Exploring Mental Health Issues with Young People
  • 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 affect 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 that 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 has been largely informed and influenced by the young people we have worked with. We have used their feedback and responses from the evaluations to give us insight into what the young people took away from the programme.

RESOURCES/DOCUMENT LIBRARY

Download & print here

A library of downloadable & printable resources to freely make use of. Click DOWNLOAD, then open & print


Lighting the Way West Cork

When a person dies by suicide it is a tragic and shattering reality, which not only brings a life to […]

DOWNLOAD

Mind Your Head Resource Pack

This is the original Mind Your Head resource (edition 1) for exploring mental health issues with young people.

DOWNLOAD

Videos

To be used with Session 9 of the Mind Your Head Resource

Web: Doublemarvellous Media