University of Edinburgh

Emotional Wellbeing Training Programme: Getting it right for deaf children and young people

Presented on Wednesday 13 January 2010

Healthy Minds

Caroline Doherty
Emotional Health &Well-Being Manager, NDCS.


  • Background
  • Resource - how do we use it
  • Who piloted it?
  • The feedback
  • The sessions - their contents
  • What we need to do next...

Healthy Minds

  • Are not trying to fix kids but guide them
  • Designed programmes around the needs of the young people & focussed on the positive & raising expectations
  • Effective practices for developing lifelong strategies for good EHWB;

History of Healthy Minds

Mental Health Report NI

Key facts;

  • Deaf Children four times as likely to suffer from some form of mental health
  • Positive mental health is important for all deaf children

Notes: Positive management and 'engineering' opportunities for success for deaf children is a key factor in prevention and management of mental health and behavioural difficulties at home and school.

The Resource

  • Understanding the reality of being deaf
  • Understanding this impact on everyday life
  • Develop the attitudes, skills & confidence
  • Strategies for dealing with difficult situations
  • Provide the opportunity to explore current coping strategies & support mechanisms

Total of 300 people piloted the resource,

Deaf Secondary School in Belfast

  • 3 mainstream schools in NI
  • Deaf school in England
  • HI units in 2 Primary Schools
  • Steering group of MH professionals
  • Focus group of parents & teachers
  • Young deaf individuals
  • 3 youth residentials.


  • I liked the bouncing cloak - age 10
  • X understands he's accountable for his communication needs, it's a 2 way process. - teacher
  • I know what works well for me is to talk to someone quickly than let things get worse - age 14
  • I've loads of happy thoughts, that I didn't know I had!- age 11
  • I don't like asking for help, but I do know it's my responsibility and I have to make the move, no one else will do it -age 16

The Healthy Minds sessions

  1. What is a Healthy Mind & why is it important?
  2. Developing good emotional well-being
  3. Support mechanisms & networks
  4. Identity – who am I?
  5. Owning & managing the deafness
  6. I'm ok being deaf? – feeling good

Session 1 - what is a healthy mind & why is it important?

  • To encourage young people to understand and explore emotional well being
  • To make the link between a healthy mind & a healthy body

What makes a healthy body & a healthy mind?

What might your ydpc's answers be?

Having poor EHWB - what are the consequences?

  • How is our feeling good linked to our physical health?
  • If we are not feeling great in our mindset, how does this affect those around?

Introduce the students to key words - resilience, & 'bounce-back-ability'

What young people felt...

  • To be taken seriously by adults
  • Biggest fear is to be laughed at or dismissed
  • Young people will not admit they are feeling low or having a bad day
  • Session 3 covers support mechanisms & relevant support people