Ysgol Dyffryn Conwy in Llanrwst has become the first school to deliver Action for Children’s innovative Blues Programme in the Welsh language.
Funded by Royal Mail, the Blues Programme is part of Action for Children’s ‘Build Sound Minds’ campaign which encourages positive conversation and good mental health. The programme is based on Cognitive Behaviour Therapy methods and helps young people understand the connection between negative thoughts, actions and feelings over a period of six weeks.
Ysgol Dyffryn Conwy student, Angharad Roberts (14) from Pandy Tudur said:
“I had experienced low moods quite often but having done some sessions I have noticed an improvement in my mood. It’s helped using techniques to deal with negative thinking and I’d recommend it to others suffering low mood. It’s also important I’ve been able to do this in Welsh. Some people aren’t confident speaking in English and more comfortable talking in Welsh about their feelings and it’s good for the school that we’re the first to do this.”
Assistant Head teacher at the school, Roger Beech, said:
“A lot of pupils here suffer low moods and anxiety and that can be for different reasons such as school work and pressure of exams as well as many outside factors so it’s been very important to deliver this programme in Welsh. The area we live in is a predominantly Welsh community and though the school itself is bi-lingual, it is imperative we deliver programmes as well as lessons in the medium of Welsh because many pupils do feel more comfortable speaking in Welsh.
“It’s fantastic we’re the first school to have the programme in Welsh, we’re very proud of that and so far it’s been really positive and I think the pupils are really enjoying it as a lot have worked with external agencies before but not in a group environment, so sharing their experiences of how they feel and its triggers, I think really helps them. I’d definitely recommend to other schools because wellbeing is becoming a big element of the new Welsh curriculum and it’s great to have a programme that builds resilience for life.”
Catrin Price delivers the Blues programme in Ysgol Dyffryn Conwy and added:
“As a Welsh speaker, I’m very proud to offer this course in my first language and that of many of the pupils. Being able to adapt to the needs of local communities is crucial in ensuring this programme has maximum impact.
“Our evaluation shows that a massive 70 per cent of pupils who have taken part so far across the UK, showed an improvement in their mental health and emotional wellbeing, with a specific decrease in depression. Pupils also reported increased confidence and self-esteem, improved relationships and better engagement at school so being able to communicate in the language in which they are most at ease can only help.”