We offer whole or part staff training in: 1. management of challenging behaviour, 2. the use of appropriate classroom based learning strategies for students with specific learning difficulties, 3. embedding positive mental health provision within the school, 4. supporting children with additional needs in an inclusive mainstream classroom, and 5. Friends Resilience training.
Student and parent supports such as: 1. study skills and the use of metacognition to improve executive functioning; 2. positive mental health and coping skills for students and parents; and 3. transition planning from primary to post-primary, and post-primary to third-level.
Systemic consultation for school plans or research: 1. exploration and conception of outcomes of survey or school plan; 2. creation and development of consultation process with key stakeholders in the school (students, parents, and staff) ensuring the involvement and buy-in of all groups; 3. collection, collation and analysis of data; and 4. report writing.
Development of a holistic approach to mental health provision within the post-primary setting.
The holistic approach developed by epoché derives from, and is cognisant of, the following propositions:
1. Any programme, strategy or intervention that is not applied across all stake-holders within the school context cannot be sure to have long-term and sustainable effects.
2. Many of the strategies, interventions and proposals are already either in existence in practice or are being employed by teachers, staff, parents and students directly or indirectly. The aim of this approach is simply to add, develop and expand the coordination of those areas in which positive work is already being done.
3. The evidence-base for adolescent mental health provision through school interventions is limited (Robinson et al., 2012) and that there is insufficient evidence to assess the effectiveness of programmes, in particular suicide-prevention (Dillon et al., 2015). Nevertheless, these reviews have not examined a comprehensive approach to mental health provision across all groups, nor any that sought to embed the provision into the culture of the school.
4. Consequently, the aim of any mental health programme is to embed a positive, empowering, sustainable and lasting culture of inclusion, respect for diversity, empathy and knowledge that can support students, parents and staff in developing the capacity to identify and manage any mental health issues that may arise.
The areas in which the approach seeks to work are: classroom based; school and student focused; parent focused; and staff focused.
The themes that are present in each group are: 1. awareness raising and information sharing; 2. the improvement and clarification of channels of communication between, and among, the key players involved in mental health provision within the school context; 3. the development of student, parent and staff capacity and efficacy in relation to identifying and managing mental health issues; and 4. the identification of areas and opportunities for increasing a sense of empowerment, involvement and recognition of the vital nature of each group’s role in improving and maintaining positive mental health within the school.
To achieve this holistic approach and embed it within the school culture, epoché offers the following supports: consultation and discussion with appropriate senior management to ensure that the unique issues facing the individual school are tackled.
Development of key indicators for positive mental health and measurement methodology.
Development of appropriate timeline for embedding positive mental health within the school.
Continual guidance on the consultation process with stakeholders.
Identification and implementation of internationally recognised best-practice considered most appropriate for the individual school.
Provision of experienced experts to provide interventions aimed at supporting students, staff and parents.
Regular, systematic and arranged support meetings and briefings with senior management and key stakeholders.