Speaker: Michelle Jayman and Bronach Hughes, University of West London, Department of Psychology
How it helps
Developed in the 1970s in the UK, Pyramid clubs for children offer a therapeutic group-work early intervention for children aged 7-14.
Normally run as a targeted after-school club in order to minimise stigma and make it accessible to the widest number of children, the clubs run for 10 weeks for 1.5 hours a week, offering a developmental journey for those children who internalise their difficulties and are showing early signs of mental health problems such as social withdrawal, somatic disorders, depression and anxiety.
Pyramid clubs have been developed using concepts from two key psychological models: cognitive psychology and positive psychology. The clubs offer children and young people an experiential model of learning about and developing strategies for managing their thoughts and feelings in a supportive environment.
Research by Schiffer on the needs of latency-age children and by Kolvin on the value of short-term therapeutic groups for children at risk, both in the 1970’s, led to the development of the Pyramid model initially.
Pyramid adopts early-intervention principles, working with children at the early signs of problems developing, rather than waiting for full-blown mental health difficulties to develop.
School-based mental health literacy programmes aim to help children understand mental health problems, address stigmatizing attitudes, and access mental health resources. Although school-based programmes have been promoted as optimal ways of improving mental health literacy, their overall effectiveness in primary and secondary schools have not been evaluated thoroughly.
The purpose of this review was to examine the effectiveness of primary and secondary level school-based mental health literacy programmes on mental health knowledge, attitudes, and help seeking behaviour in children under the age of 18 years. In total, 47 studies were included in this review and most showed a positive intervention effect on all three aspects of mental health literacy.
The majority of studies evaluated mental health literacy programmes in secondary schools, focused on promoting knowledge and attitudes on mental illness in general, and involved more female than male students. Programmes varied in structure, length, delivery, and student interaction as well methods of evaluation.
Given programme and methodological heterogeneity, results should be treated cautiously and it is not possible to determine which mental health programme was most effective at addressing mental health knowledge, attitudes, or help seeking behaviour. Suggestions for future school-based mental health literacy programme research and practice are discussed.
Sukh Hamilton led the project working with the charity Simon Says.
The event took place in two locations and involved working with 12 young people who had experienced significant loss (and several who had experienced multiple losses).
The key aim of the project was to enable the young people to be able to voice in their own words their loss and also to be able to narrate their stories in order to empower other young people who may go through what they were journeying through.