Building Emotional Resilience

By Dr Melanie Forster, consultant psychologist and author of How to enhance the mental health and emotional wellbeing of primary children with SEN.

Over recent years, I’ve become increasingly aware of the pressures on educational practitioners to support the emotional and mental health needs of the children in their schools, even without adequate training and support. In reality, there are so many simple things these practitioners can do to make a real, positive difference. Everyone can play a role in enhancing children’s emotional health and wellbeing, whatever their job title. Promoting better mental health for our children really is everyone’s business.

Essential foundations for positive emotional health are laid down in childhood. These have a valuable impact through into adulthood. Children with higher levels of emotional wellbeing are more likely to obtain higher levels of academic achievement, and experience good physical and mental health and economic stability as adults.

Children with special educational needs (SEN) have been identified as a particularly vulnerable group, likely to experience emotional distress and with a significant high risk of developing mental health difficulties. In these challenging financial times, schools are increasingly expected to support and strengthen the emotional wellbeing and resilience of these children in their everyday provision.

We know that children flourish emotionally in schools which have an explicit focus on building emotional health. But what are the factors that impact upon emotional health and wellbeing? How can schools develop a positive identity and culture which builds emotional resilience? How can individual practitioners strengthen their everyday practice to better support vulnerable children?

How to enhance the mental health and emotional wellbeing of primary children with SEN will help answer these questions, equipping you with all you need to strengthen and support the emotional health and wellbeing of primary school children.

This comprehensive resource provides a framework to help educational practitioners develop effective emotional support for their pupils based upon national policy and best-practice recommendations. It will help SENCos and teachers develop their own everyday practice as well as guide whole-school approaches. It is also valuable for those commissioning and developing services to meet changing need.

This book will:

  • help practitioners understand key childhood developmental milestones and the impact of SEN
  • build practitioners’ knowledge of mental health difficulties commonly seen in primary-aged children
  • identify risk and protective factors which impact upon emotional health and wellbeing
  • provide a framework for developing and establishing effective whole-school provision to enhance the emotional and mental health of all children
  • establish practitioners’ skills in identifying ‘at risk’ children and suggest ways to systematically assess individual need
  • help guide the planning, delivery and review of targeted interventions
  • help practitioners strengthen and improve collaborative working relationships with parents and allied professional colleagues from other services
  • help practitioners develop a framework for the training of staff to help build their knowledge, confidence and skills.

This practical and accessible resource is ideal for SENCos, teachers and headteachers wishing to develop and strengthen their knowledge and practical skills in promoting their pupils’ emotional wellbeing. The book comes with an accompanying CD-ROM which contains customisable, printable activities that can be used in small groups or on a one-to-one basis as part of an intervention programme.

Dr Melanie Forster is a dual-qualified consultant clinical psychologist and teacher. She has extensive experience working within Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) and as a local authority SEN consultant, and frequently delivers training to specialist practitioners regarding a diverse range of SEN needs.

A companion title by the same author, How to enhance the mental health and emotional wellbeing of secondary students with SEN, will be available from April 2016.