The Hopeful Minds programme: a mixed method evaluation of 10 school curriculum based, theoretically framed lessons to promote mental health and coping skills in 8-14 year olds

Karen Kirby, Aoife Lyons, John Mallett, Kathryn Goetzke, Marie Dunne, Wendy Gibbons, Áine Ní Chnáimhsí. , Jill Ferguson, Tara Harkin, Emily McGlinchey, Grainne Mc Anee, Myron Belfer, Kirsten Stark

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Abstract

This study is the first evaluation of Hopeful Minds: a novel school-based mental health promotion programme designed for children and pre-adolescents. Ten hope theory-based lessons were assessed. A mixed-methodology design was used with a sample of 127 participants (88 pre/post; 39 focus groups), aged 8–13 years. In the pre/post-study, there were significant improvements in anxiety and emotional regulation levels (primary school), coping and resilience levels (post-primary). Focus groups were conducted with three post-primary groups. The key overarching qualitative themes included developing a hopeful mind; increased emotional insight and awareness; improved resilience, confidence, self-belief, and developing new coping skills and a request to provide the programme to all transitioning primary school children. Outcomes provide preliminary evidence indicating that the Hopeful Minds programme, which utilises ‘Hope theory’ as it's foundation, has potential in preventing the development of mental health issues in pre and early adolescent children. Recommendations include adopting a whole school approach, include additional lessons on rumination and academic failure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)169-190
Number of pages22
JournalChild Care in Practice
Volume27
Issue number2
Early online date11 Nov 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 3 Apr 2021

Keywords

  • Hope theory
  • Child and Adolescent Mental Health
  • School based
  • Mental Health
  • Promotion and Prevention
  • Coping
  • Resilience
  • Anxiety
  • Emotional regulation
  • hope theory
  • adolescents
  • Mental health
  • coping

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