IMPACTS - IMPortant ACTions Stick

IMPACTS basic logo

A Call to Action for Schools / School Staff - Created by Young People in Cornwall Summer 2020

“Please listen to me. Accept what I say and who I am. I do not need you to ‘fix’ me just help me navigate my journey”.

Introduction

During lockdown we tried to stay in contact with YP involved in HSK Youth. A group of YP helped with the Start Now young people's website and the online Wellbeing Action Plan, attended a meeting with councillors about the impact of Covid and supported our social media. 

We looked at developing our social media presence and a small group offered to get involved. Over the summer the young people worked with Headstart and the Council Communication team on a #BackToSchool campaign – taking part in podcasts; radio ads; and creating posters and other campaign materials. 

Discussions when were together quickly turned to Covid coping; back to school + what wellbeing might look like on return.

After one session this dropped into the email and IMPACTS was born.

“In a complicated and frustrating world young people can find it really unnerving to open up about their struggles, big and small. Unfortunately, those people who we are supposed to depend on, namely our teachers, don’t seem to have the understanding and knowledge on how to support young people with their Mental Health’s and issues that arise. Too often “it’s okay not to be okay[1]” is thrown at us and expected to ‘do’, and it really doesn’t. For some, being listened to and given a small piece of advice can be the intervention needed to promote a ‘safe space’ rather than being palmed off with a saying that is overused and has now lost meaning for so many. Other times, we find ourselves being sent to the student support schemes within our schools which are great but have so many young people to ‘deal’ with that the serious interventions needed get put aside and this is where the young people of today are being unintentionally failed. We need teachers to be able to give advice and help in the initial cases seen to prevent drastic impacts on young people’s lives, we need to be listened to and given time. It isn’t about making sure each teacher within schools has a master’s in psychology, it is about making sure they have the knowledge, and more importantly the understanding, to care about individuals and be able to give a basic intervention that may just have the power to save an individual at school. 

Thank you, Z :)

 

From this seed; discussion in the group over several sessions what looked like a call to action began to form. Another e mail arrived with further thoughts and another with a draft graphic / logo.

 It is a powerful and uncomfortable message but an authentic one. It has been tempered by the young people themselves reflecting on the good experience they had and a real understanding of the pressures on school staff, that make it difficult. They have also expressed a concern for staff wellbeing too. What we admire about IMPACTS is it came from lived experience (good and bad). What also struck us was how well the messages in IMPACTS reflected many of our ‘mantras’ for wellbeing in schools: importance of relationships; ‘every interaction in can be an intervention’; ‘Behaviour as communication…’; trusted and emotionally available adults; ‘connection before correction’; the need for a Whole School Approach – if not in so many words.

[1] It’s OK… is a key message for Headstart Youth and this was a sobering analysis of one of our key messages!

 Here is their Call to Action