Anti-bullying Week – AMH’s Provoking Thought helps teens negotiate life

As Action Mental Health continues its focus on bullying during Anti-Bullying Week, the charity is shining a light on some of the services that help support children in schools in myriad ways, including if they are victims of bullying.

Provoking Thought is one such project which helps secondary level children wade through their way the difficult years from 11 to 18 and beyond, to 25 years of age, within community group settings.

AMH MensSana project worker Leah Moore, explains that Provoking Thought, which she delivers in Northern Ireland’s secondary and grammar schools addresses many facets of bullying.

“We look at aspects like: ‘what is bullying’ and also questions like ‘what is friendship’ and what constitutes a good friendship. This is designed to let young people make the comparison with their own friendships to enable them assess if their friendships are good for them.

“We look at the question of why people bully others, as well as the symptoms of bullying and its mental health impact – on both the victim and their bully.”

Provoking Thought looks at how bullies can be supported by helping them to identify those around them who they can turn to for help.

Importantly, it teaches young people what they can do to help themselves if they find that they are victims of bullying.

Provoking Thought helps young people negotiate the much-publicised perils of social media and cyber bullying.

“It encourages them to think twice before they comment and whether it’s a helpful thought they intend to share publicly. Much of the bullying witnessed these days does centre around cyber bullying, and it can be very subtle,” she said.

Provoking Thought places a great emphasis on identifying people who are there to help and also on coping skills, focusing on the principals of The Five Ways to Well-Being to help illustrate ways of coping experiences of bullying they may encounter.

Reflecting the five points – Connect, Give, Keep Active, Take Notice, Keep Learning – Provoking Thought encourage pupils to ‘Connect’ with good and trusted friends. It also encourages them to ‘Give’ themselves a detox from social media and to step away from it for a while, especially if they are experiencing cyber bullying.

“This can help provide space to explore other things and to set small goals away from it,” she added. “And it helps identify individuals in their lives who young people can turn to and talk to if the occasion arises – even when it’s time to address things with the police.

“Ultimately we do a lot of talking around the topic and encourage them to discuss it among themselves, sometimes discussing areas in which bullying is often more prevalent, for example in ethnic minority and LGBTQ+ communities.”

Provoking Thought workshops are available to 11-25 year olds and their key contacts and can be delivered in schools, youth clubs and community groups.  (Can be delivered to 25+ also)

The aim of the workshop is to support young people/people and their key contacts in the area of mental and emotional wellbeing through a range of activities that are tailored to suit group needs. The workshops aim to be young people friendly, positive, interactive and informative.  The workshops are designed to explore issues and facilitate discussion around issues of mental and emotional wellbeing.

A mental health awareness Provoking Thought workshop can include information on the following:

  • Recognising the importance of looking after our mental health and emotional well-being
  • Developing confidence to seek help
  • Raising awareness of signs and symptoms of mental distress
  • Challenging the stigmas and misconceptions about mental health
  • Identifying factors that cause stress in young people
  • Developing mental health literacy
  • Building resilience for well-being
  • Highlighting the sources of support available
  • Highlighting the value of coping skills

Read more about Provoking Thought here or contact our team.

AMH MensSana

T: 028 9442 5356 E: [email protected]
(all areas except Southern Trust Area)

T: 028 3839 2314 E: [email protected]
(Southern Trust Area)

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