HeadStart Kent have developed a digital approach to promoting positive emotional and mental wellbeing and have been supporting schools to utilise this digital resource through the creation and dissemination of various online resources, training, workshops, consultations, and through a professional forum.
The Kent Resilience Hub is an online resource pooling together information and resources in a variety of engaging and accessible formats, to help children, parents, carers and professionals better understand emotional wellbeing and resilience. The Hub provides a rich and diverse collection of materials, including the Resilience Toolkit for schools and communities and has been designed as one place that people could go to, completely free to access and a way for people to navigate their way through the system via a ‘one stop shop’.
HeadStart Kent recognise that in order for parents to be able to support their children they also need to be well, and so the Resilience Hub provides plenty of support for parents themselves too. This includes:
- A range of parenting tips, guidance and advice for what parents can do to support their children’s mental health and resilience
- Signposting to relevant sources of support where required
- Training from providers across the county
- Online webinars
- Parenting tips for those with children of particular ages and with certain medical conditions
- Links and invitations to groups for parents to meet up virtually and talk with one another
- Home education resources for parents looking after children during lockdown
MoodSpark is a website, dedicated to young people, accessible from the hub. It offers a range of support to children and young people.
MoodSpark support includes:
- A resilience quiz
- Tips on sustaining friendships during transitions
- Playlists to promote a good night’s sleep
- Information and guidance on understanding anxiety
- Coping with exams stress
- Activities to help break the cycle of negative thoughts, feelings and actions
The Hub also provides information for professionals, with dedicated sections for practitioners based in schools, communities and involved in wider work with children and young people. The content ranges from support for individuals and tools to support young people, through to whole-school approaches to support emotional wellbeing and resilience for everyone.
SUPPORTING DIGITAL ACCESS
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic and national lockdowns, there has been a greater need nationally to shift to online platforms for hosting mental health resources, training and meeting spaces for children, families and professionals.
As the Kent Resilience Hub was already operational, the HeadStart Kent team developed approaches to supporting professionals, particularly schools, to access this resource and to be able to confidently identify good quality support online in order to safely and effectively signpost children, young people and families. As there are increasing numbers of websites and options for support, the digital landscape is potentially tricky to navigate and HeadStart Kent have worked to provide a solution to this.
Here are some examples of how HeadStart Kent approached this challenge and supported key stakeholders, particularly schools, to build confidence around accessing digital support:
Promotion of the Hub
- The Hub and MoodSpark were promoted in a leaflet sent to every household in Kent, which prior to the arrival of the pandemic, positioned the resource as the ‘go-to’ place for people to visit for mental and emotional health support.
- Kent provided an online webinar to promote the website digitally (a recording of the webinar can be found at the bottom of the page) which was delivered to approximately 300 schools, and then published online for those who couldn’t attend or wanted to access the content at a later date.
- The webinar highlighted the different tools available to organisations and explained how different assessment tools could be implemented to promote resilience and wellbeing on organisational levels in clear, measurable and step-by-step processes. It also introduced viewers to campaigns and grant schemes advertised through the Hub, including a Pay it Forward scheme designed to give young people the chance to win between £250 and £1,000 to help someone else’s wellbeing.
- The webinar also taught parents, carers and professionals to use the Hub, as well as introduce them to scheme, campaigns and activities that they could play an active part in, remotely, during the pandemic.
- The sites have also benefitted from promotion through a range of social media channels including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn, as well as the use of paid advertising.
- At the start of the pandemic, and then in the Autumn of 2020, the sites were also promoted through the Draw Your Own Solution social marketing campaigns hosted on the sites. This included the use of social media, radio and Spotify advertising, Google ad works and out of home advertising, such as on school buses.
Digital Community of Practice
- Professionals have also been brought together through HeadStart Kent’s school digital community of practice meetings, which have been held since March 2020. Schools across Kent come together digitally to share good practice and receive updates from one another, with a recurring agenda item to share available digital emotional and mental wellbeing support. Each meeting has a wellbeing theme, and these have been centred around staff wellbeing, digitally supporting young people with additional needs, and online support for the wellbeing of young people, parents and carers during the pandemic.
- Following feedback from schools participating in the Wellbeing for Education Return Programme, HeadStart Kent, in partnership with The Education People, has developed an online Wellbeing Resource and Service Directory to provide access to local and county-wide mental health support for young people. The resource has received positive reviews from staff suggesting it is easier to be aware of and navigate the support available all in one place.
- The online resource includes websites, contact details and information on county-wide mental health services and resources for young people in Kent and provides information on smaller services operating within specific towns and IAPT/specialist psychotherapy services for young people. Embedded in the resource are the views and feelings on the current mental health provision available to young people in Kent from young people themselves. It also provides statistics on the views of professionals and young people, with, for instance, a 2015 study finding that 85% of teachers in Kent had not had sufficient mental health training, and 85% of students wanted more education on mental health. Therefore, the content of the Resilience Hub was designed to respond to this by providing links to lesson plans and subject packs for teachers, pupils and schools on mental health and wellbeing.
- Both the Resilience Hub and the Wellbeing Resource and Service Directory are peer assessed within the team for quality assurance and to ensure that content remains aligns with the HeadStart message and can be confidently used. There are regular monthly meetings regarding the Resilience Hub to provide opportunities for any concerns with content to be addressed. These meetings took place previously HeadStart and Kent public health colleagues, and now involve public health, Kent and Medway CCG and school nursing colleagues in Kent who have been working together to continue and sustain the Resilience Hub. Feedback is also provided by young people to ensure that the content remains accessible.
 The School Resilience Toolkit has been independently evaluated by University of Greenwich