A new programme will equip education professionals with the skills and knowledge needed to help young people navigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on their mental health.
Following feedback from a number of online free sessions for education professionals organised by the University of Chester in partnership with Coleg Cambria during the first lockdown last year, academics quickly identified a need for increased knowledge to be shared to help address the issues of attachment, adversity, trauma and mental health in children.
With a first cohort in the Postgraduate Certificate in Attachment, Trauma and Mental Health enrolling last September, the programme has already attracted significant attention from education providers keen to address the ongoing challenges created by the pandemic.
The University worked closely with the north east Wales college to tailor the programme specifically for its needs after delegates took part in Continuing Professional Development (CPD) sessions hosted by the University last year.
The first successful cohort have already taken part with the programme focussing on the over 16s. The University has also been approached by education professionals from other sixth form colleges who are due to enrol later this year.
Demand for the programme has come from teachers, pastoral support staff in schools and mental health and social work professionals. Sessions focus on the areas of emotions and attachment in learning, adverse childhood experiences and mental health and resilience and learning.
The curriculum will include looking at theories of emotional development and how early attachment and separation impact on personality development and an examination of adverse childhood experiences and how trauma impacts the brain and how it manifests in perception and behaviour.
Students will examine the impact of adverse childhood experiences and how they can affect resilience, mental health, behaviour and life outcomes for children, young people and adults, as well as understanding challenging behaviour due to mental health and thinking about it in a new way.
Jane Bradley, senior lecturer in Special Needs and Disabilities at the University is creating and leading a team of experts in this area to deliver this qualification.
She said: “The areas addressed in this new programme have never been more relevant and we have received a huge amount of interest.
“There is a real, deep understanding now amongst professionals of mental health, behaviour, trauma and loss and the pandemic has brought this to the forefront. We believe that the areas covered in this programme will give confidence to, and further equip those working with children and young people, to help them to develop and thrive.”