Jacqueline Graham–Barley

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Providing an environment where children are safe and do not live in fear is what we would like to think is the norm in our communities. Sadly this is not the case. Many children live with frightening moments in their lives, to many this is normal. They do not know how to put their concerns into words, or with whom to share these issues.  So many sit in silence or act out with negative or disruptive behaviour.

Jade Speaks up  allow conversations to  begin and one’s stories to be  told.  Then we have the beginning of understanding our emotions and behaviour. To see there are alternatives and some simple strategies can help get us through scary situations.

The Jade Speaks Up programme, provided in the school environment, explores emotions and reactions. The exercises bring out emotions, provides insights to understand how two people can look at a situation from different angles. It provides strategies in calming techniques.  These are all useful approaches for everyone’s mental health, no matter our age.  These strategies build mental health resilience. Having such a programme in school is the ideal place, as teachers spend a lot of time with children. Teachers are the professional adult that children are in contact the most.

As with any early intervention programme in psychological health, it can take results several years to see the impact. It is reassuring that over the three years Jade Speaks Up has been in use there has been overall positive results.

Jade Speaks Up is a necessary part of a preventative psychological health programme. There are few such programmes available.  Without such programmes we are destined to continue to provide the “ambulance at the bottom of the cliff” services after the psychological issues are well entrenched. There are many therapists providing hours of treatment services. As a retired GP of over 40 years experience in primary care I have seen plenty of entrenched behaviour of fearfulness, anxiety, stress, depression. I have provided many hours of therapy. Often long term psychological intervention is required to change behaviours and sadly this may not be enough to change negative reactions into positive reactions. Also when events become overbearing we tend to revert to behaviour we learnt as a child.

If we believe that prevention is better than cure then continuing to fund Jade Speaks Up programme is necessary to build up psychological resilience and reduce mental health problems.

Jacqueline Graham–Barley
12th September 2020



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