Back in December 2021 we showcased the brilliant work of Mr Austin, Miss Alothman and the Hethersett Physical Education department in implementing the RISE Up programme through their Key Stage 4 curriculum.
Hethersett Academy was one of the first schools we partnered with, they have been on a fantastic journey and were recently rewarded with a thoroughly deserved ‘Outstanding’ inspection from Ofsted.
This week we are revisiting Hethersett Academy to explore the impact of the RISE Up programme through the eyes of one of their parents and the impact it has had on her daughter.
The parent is also a Social, Emotional & Mental Health (SEMH) counsellor in another great school we partner with so is incredibly well placed to talk about the impact of the programme. Mum takes up the story here:
Adolescence, Social media and a mother's fears
As a mother, I always worried about the impact adolescence would have on my daughter; it is a very challenging time of life for anyone, with many developmental and physical changes.
The expectations and norms displayed on social media have always been a huge concern for me. I have always ensured that my children are aware of the impact social media plays on mental health.
Impact of the pandemic
My daughter went from being a young girl to a teenager during the pandemic; this meant that she developed a new sense of self in isolation to her peers. She was not used to socialising with others in the outside world in her newly developed ‘teenage self’.
As a result she became anxious, insecure, and struggled with regulation. She struggled with her sleep and spent hours in front of her computer completing home learning or on her phone interacting with others. She became demotivated and was reluctant to exercise.
For a period following lockdown, my daughter felt very insecure in PE. She was consistently commenting on how insecure she was of her body, how she felt different to her peers, and how others would body shame one another. This caused her to become highly anxious on the days she had PE lessons.
I was not aware that my daughter had started the Rise Up Programme, but had noticed a huge change in her wanting to take part in her PE lesson. I then noticed a change in her outlook, self-awareness and confidence.
I asked her if there was anything that had changed, and she spoke about the impact the PE Programme was having on her wellbeing and mental health.
My daughter felt really positive about taking part in the programme, and she was pleased that her friends were taking part. This facilitated the process in terms of the ability for her and her peers to embed the programme and skills learnt into their daily lives.
Engagement in PE
It had been requested that my daughter be taken out of PE to take part in an academic intervention, however, she requested that she was not removed from PE. She felt that this would have an impact on her mental health.
She was able to describe all the benefits of the Rise Up Programme provided and how it had a positive emotional and physical impact on her.
Since my daughter took part in the Rise Up Programme, she is able to positively influence those around her with regards to the confidence she has in herself and the impact social media has on this.
She takes part in journaling and mindfulness regularly. She has set personal goals for herself both mentally and physically. She is now able to advocate for herself and others in terms of what mental and physical health entails and tries to lead a balanced lifestyle.
This has had a positive impact on our relationship as the programme has facilitated her ability to communicate her worries to me, and we are then able to problem solve together.
This is how my daughter summarised the impact of the RISE Up programme:
“Becoming a teenager during lockdown was so hard, I always compared myself to people on social media because I spent so much time on my phone. After the programme I feel more able to focus on my mental wellbeing and how important physical health is. I know myself so much better than before. I also like to help my friends feel more positive about themselves and also feel comfortable asking my PE teachers for a bit of support when I am feeling down”
Feeling grateful for the school
I was really grateful that she had the opportunity to take part in the programme. As a counsellor myself, we know that school-based mental health interventions can have a significant impact on various student-level outcomes and reduce pressure on downstream services such as Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS).
I was pleased to hear that this was a universal programme in PE and that students were learning and developing these crucial life-skills. I would definitely recommend the programme to other schools.
Schools making a difference
School-based universal programmes such as the Rise Up Programme enable young people to receive support and develop self-care skills.
Schools are able to provide early identification and intervention of a mental health need in young people in a protected and familiar context without needing to self-refer or be externally referred to mental health services.
Understanding what works is important in the assigning and delivery of effective interventions, so that young people’s mental health and wellbeing are enhanced, their long-term outcomes are improved, and strain on downstream services is reduced.
As a parent I think it is important to make use of the potential of schools to provide effective early interventions to improve the mental health of young people. It certainly helped my daughter.
Click here to read the original case study on how the Physical Education team at Hethersett Academy implemented the programme.
How we can help you
If you would like to join this movement of inspirational teachers, then the RISE Up online teacher training course teaches you and your colleagues how to set up an award winning programme with easy to follow videos and a comprehensive set of editable resources to save you hours of time planning.
Why not take the first step towards transforming the wellbeing of your young people by completing the school wellbeing scorecard here.
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