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Developing a practical, easy and adaptable evidence based model of wellbeing in schools – the MINDYOUR5 programme – Dr Nihara Krause, Consultant Clinical Psychologist

There are many wellbeing programmes for schools. Some are targeted for specific groups of students, such as, for example, small, social and emotional skills groups, or groups aimed at reducing problem behaviours or increasing positive behaviours or competence such as exercise.  Some programmes, such as the UK resilience programme, are intended for all students.  There are also some mentoring and peer support programmes and social action interventions such as the National Citizen Service or the Duke of Edinburgh programme. Ultimately, all programmes aim for the same goal – enabling children and young people to thrive and achieve their full potential and the building of a positive school community.

However, there is significant variation in what each of these programmes provide since the focus can range from increasing competency, to reducing problem behaviours. In addition, some interventions are classroom based whilst others are outside of the classroom, whether they are delivered through extracurricular clubs or through engagement with the wider community. With so many programmes being advocated, what to choose has become increasingly confusing for many schools, particularly with the emphasis and pressure there exists on achieving academic rigour and maintaining quality standards.  Most importantly, each school has its own identity and this further confuses choice since ‘one size doesn’t fit all ‘ leaving schools bewildered on the cost benefit of adapting a programme that may not necessarily work for them or that they find hard to implement and to maintain.

In order to clarify a well-being model that can guide choice and help schools create their own bespoke within school model, which can be integrated into the curriculum, I have developed a well-being programme that focuses on the five main categories that psychological research indicates needs to be covered to be comprehensive. Since the five-a-say model is a known one for physical health, I have developed ‘MINDYOUR5’ a well-being model of 5 day for good mental health.  The model is simple and educates students, teachers and parents on what the five main categories are and provides examples of what can be done daily in each of the five categories to enhance positive mental health. The activities suggested have been trialled, using feedback from students and are simple and easy to implement and maintain. There is also scope for individual tasks that suit each person to be incorporated, which brings about ownership and therefore more potential for engagement. As well as individual level implementation, suggestions have been made on how the programme can fit into the school curriculum so that the message can be reinforced in lessons. Existing programmes, such as the ones mentioned in the introduction, can also be embedded if so wished, into the relevant category. This provides schools with the option of creating bespoke well-being programmes that suit the school and as a result are more likely to be implemented and maintained.

The model is simple. The five categories are

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© Dr Nihara Krause

Case study 1

The five categories of MINDYOUR5 were explained to students and teachers. The programme was trialled for a week in a secondary school with students, teachers and parents all taking part. Feedback was collated at the end of the week. Satisfaction in those taking part was high (92%); attitude shift in terms of realising that it was easy and fun to carry out many of the activities was positive (89%); 90% reported feeling happier at the end of the week, whilst most of the students (97%) said they would wish to continue to keep up with their tasks. All categories were liked although ‘positive thinking’ was seen as the hardest to apply category. Following this, a reminder of the five categories was incorporated into all student planners so that the students could be reminded of their need to maintain these behaviours.

From feedback obtained about the types of tasks as well as how to incorporate this into a school curriculum from a number of different schools, a MINDYOUR5 whole school programme for junior schools has just been developed which maps each category of activity onto the curriculum.

Case study 2

A junior school is currently trialling the MINDYOUR5 programme for the whole school. This has included the following:
There has been a talk to teachers to see if they like the model
Based on full agreement, there has been a teacher training session on how to educate each class on the model
There has been a parent session informing parents about the model
The school has been provided with the programme, a power-point which can be adapted to suit the developmental level of the students, booklets for each child to fill in and guidelines for a school assembly to start the programme.
The school will then be supported in their delivery of the programme and results will be collated at the end of the year.

If you would like to download the new MINDYOUR5 programme for Junior Schools please contact Nihara Krause by email at drkrause@mindyour5.co.uk

All rights reserved Dr Nihara Krause Consultant Clinical Psychologist