Living-Mindfully-logoA NORTH East social enterprise is leading the way in helping tackle stress among school children.

A report published today has revealed a rise in the number of children nationally suffering from anxiety, low self-esteem and unhappiness.

Childline’s Always There When I Need You report shows the number of children reporting unhappiness and low self-esteem issues, has risen by nine per cent to 35,244, while those troubled by anxiety almost trebled to 8,642.

However, in a ground-breaking project, Living Mindfully is helping to tackle the problem.

The Consett-based social enterprise has been commissioned by Public Heath, County Durham Council to deliver The Living Mindfully in Schools Programme, which now operates in many secondary schools throughout the county.

Mindfulness, which is recommended by NICE (National Institute for Clinical Excellence), for depression, has also shown to have a positive impact upon stress, anxiety, and chronic pain.

Research has shown it can also improve self-esteem and result in lasting decreases in the physical and psychological symptoms of stress.

In the wake of the Childline report, Living Mindfully, has stressed the need for other schools to follow suit.

Its Mindfulness in School project leader Jill Cox, who gave a presentation at the County Durham Suicide Prevention Conference this month, said: “Sadly, this report comes as no surprise to me.

“I have spoken at length with teachers, some of whom have been teaching for 20 years or more, and it is abundantly clear that there is an increased demand for student support.

“While schools provide great academic learning, there has been a lack of teaching on our most powerful tool; the human mind. Self understanding and learning practical ways to manage and strengthen our social and emotional resilience have a profound and positive affect on all areas of our lives; including our academic performance.

The Mindfulness in Schools Project provides a practical, effective and enjoyable course to meet these needs.

“Mindfulness helps students gain understanding, attitudes and skills, that help them manage their present lives and stand them in stronger stead for the future.”

Consett Academy, County Durham, has already run mindfulness training for 12 students and two staff members, who now intend to become trainers for mindfulness, so they can implement their learning to support students at the school.

Assistant Principal, Mike Stokoe, said: “The students felt that the sessions offered something different and allowed them to see life from a new perspective.

“They felt it supported them in controlling their stress levels and heightened focus in the key exam period. Mindfulness is now an approach that stakeholders at Consett Academy can choose to use to help them develop an optimum work/life balance and self-wellbeing.”

Living Mindfully also works closely with Public Health in County Durham, with GPs referring patients free of charge to its Adult Service.

For more information about Living Mindfully, its courses and referral requirements, call 01207 693909 or visit its website at www.livingmindfully.co.uk.

Anyone interested in training to teach mindfulness in schools, or who would like further information, can email enquiries@livingmindfullyinschools.com