What is CUES-Ed?
The 'Who I Am and What I Can: How to Keep My Brain Amazing' package has been designed by SLaM Clinical Psychologists and CBT therapists to improve the emotional wellbeing and resilience of primary school children. It aims to help each child realise their own potential and maximise their learning. The package consists of six sessions embedded with evidence based CBT practice, delivered to the whole class. Each session is highly interactive and draws on a range of media sources to ensure the active engagement of all the children.
Where did the idea for the project come from?
The project originated from feedback given by participants in the Coping with Unusual Experiences Study (CUES). The CUES trial tested whether children who had been referred to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services with distressing and unusual experiences (such as hearing a voice that other people can't hear) could be helped by a cognitive behaviour therapy based intervention. The therapy was designed to help children develop coping strategies that would reduce their distress and build their resilience.
Some of the children reported that although the therapy was very helpful it would have been even more useful if they had had access to the ideas at an earlier stage. They also liked the normalising approach of the therapy and thought this would be a good way to break down the stigma surrounding mental health, as such issues were rarely spoken about at school.
How does CUES-Ed work?
CUES-Ed helps children to recognise how they feel, think and behave and to learn how to talk about this with others. It encourages children to notice the signs (cues!) when things aren’t right – such as an increase in worry, a change in appetite or sleep patterns and difficulties with friendship groups. Simple coping strategies to deal with these challenges and to enhance resilience are taught throughout the sessions.
One of the sessions uses optical illusions and other puzzles to show how our brains can sometimes play tricks on us. Children have really enjoyed this approach to learning more about how their brains work.
Careful attention has been paid to the experience of children during the pilot phase of CUES-Ed. Valuable feedback on the content, presentation and overall suitability of the package has been incorporated throughout.
Feedback from children
Feedback from teachers
For more information about CUES-Ed, including how the package can be delivered in your school contact:
Debbie Plant (firstname.lastname@example.org)