Children of Service Families & Mental Health• Mansfield et al 2011 - 16.7% of Children from Military Families are diagnosed with at least one mental health issue during the deployment of a parent into a combat zone.• White et al 2011 – Research indicates that children of deployed parents are at higher risk of psychosocial problems than their civilian counterparts, which may reflect the multiple stressors that military children face…some children with a deployed parent experience moderate to severe emotional and behavioural problems.
Mobility StudyGeographic mobility and childrens emotional/behavioural adjustment and school functioning. Simpson, G.A. Fowler, M.G. 1994. Sample Size: 10,362 US School Age Children (Civilian) Measurements: The 1988 National Health Interview Survey of Child Health includes data on health and demographic characteristics, emotional/behavioural variables, school functioning, and geographic mobility. This study examined the relationship of childrens geographic mobility to childrens reported emotional problems, use of psychological help, scores on a Behaviour Problem Index, repeating a grade in school, and being suspended or expelled from school.
Mobility StudyFindings:● 24% of children have never moved, 35% of children have moved once or twice, and 39% of children aged 6 to 17 years have moved three or more times in their lifetime….● Children who moved three or more times were 2.3 times more likely to have received psychological help, 1.7 times more likely to have repeated a grade, and 1.9 times more likely to have been suspended or expelled from school compared with children who had never moved.● Children who moved three or more times were 1.6 times more likely to be in the top tenth percentile of scores on the Behaviour Problem Index compared with children who had never moved.
Mobility StudyConclusion: Children who move three or more times are at increased risk for emotional/behavioural and school problems. Thus, paediatricians, other health professionals, and educators should be alert to the potential educational and psychological problems among children from highly mobile families.
Mobility of Service ChildrenOfsted (2011) Children in Service Families: The Quality& Impact of Partnership Provision in Service Families● 12% of service children were mobile during years 7-9 compared with 5% of non-service children● 6% of service children were mobile during years 10-11 compared with 2% of non-service children● By the time they reach secondary education, some service children may have moved 13-14 times
Mobility of Service ChildrenHouse of Commons Defence Committee: “Moving schools is stressful for all children & frequent moves can have a significant detrimental impact on young people.”
The Mental Health ContinuumEmotional Distress Solution Emotional Stuckness Mental Health Problem Mental Illness
Causes of Emotional Distress● Impact on friendships – High Mobility decreases the importance on laying down roots. Why invest in friendships that will not last?● Increase risk of Isolation – Although academic achievement may not suffer, the more removed from their peers an individual becomes, the greater the risk of suffering from mental health problems.● Adjusting to new surroundings – Children may need time to adjust to unfamiliar surroundings and have fears of getting lost. This may also include learning new routines/ rules and expectations.● Differences in curriculum – Having to redo aspects of the curriculum they have already completed/ or having to join in midway through and feeling left behind can lead to greater anxiety or becoming disengaged from Education.
What can we do?Self Esteem & Resilience are key factors. Generally children & young people with higher self esteem are more resilient to change. Resilient children and young people will find ways to solve problems and/ or ask for help
What can we do?Children and young people who lack resilienceand have low self esteem will often:• Withdraw from a situation and become invisible (flight)• Rebel against it and act out in order to survive and get noticed (fight)Both of these solutions can become ‘Stuck’ andcan lead to other problems.
What can we do? Preparing for change and Overcoming AnxietyHelp un-stick stuck solutions!
What can we do?• Help to normalise Anxiety/ Worry around change – Physical/ Thoughts/ Behaviour● Provide reassurance at a very early stage● Plan for transition● Promote positive emotional health – Explore worries● Assist in early detection and intervention – See behaviour as communication● Create a partnership with the young person to find strategies “getting through this together”
Why focus on Anxiety?● Anxiety is the most common mental health problem.● Anxiety feeds into most other mental health conditions.● Anxiety is also a normal state of flux in the human experience.● Anxiety Disorders are one of the most treatable with intervention● For Children & Young People of Service Families there may be an increased prevalence of Anxiety surrounding Mobility, Pre-Deployment, Deployment & Re-Deployment
What can we do?S.E.A.L.Social & Emotional Aspects of LearningStrategies around Transition ● Capable ● Listened to ● Accepted ● Safe ● Supported ● Included ● Challenged
What can we do?● Young Minds in Schools – Identifying & Supporting Pupils at Risk During Transfer & Transition – Roger Catchpole Helping Children to COPE: • Promote Connectedness – Friendships with peers. Relationships with teachers, sense of belonging & opportunities for participation • Become a skilled Observer – Notice what is happening and be aware of each child. Behaviour is Communication • Develop Problem solving skills – Help children face and overcome problems – DO NOT TEACH AVOIDANCE • Model Emotional regulation –Acknowledge that it is normal and OK to feel anxious, upset, angry etc, teach children that our emotions don’t have to govern our behaviour, we have a choice!
WELL-BEING“Well-being and good mental health areessential for each of us to reach our full potential” No health without mental health (HM Government, 2010 p.16).
New Economics Foundation – Five Ways to Well-being
Finally..Service Children don’t want tofeel different but they do wanttheir circumstances to be understood.Ofstead (2011)