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Empowering young people to Listen Well and make a positive contribution to mental wellbeing

The latter part of 2017 saw Listen Well Scotland’s new listening course – the Listen Well Award – delivered in seven schools across Scotland as a pilot. Gaining skills in active listening, 95 young people now can have the opportunity to make a positive contribution to health and wellbeing through improved peer communication.

The 7 participating schools were:

Carluke High School; Charleston Academy Inverness; Keith Grammar School; Kingussie High School; Millburn Academy Inverness; Speyside High School Aberlour and Ullapool High School.

The pilot required participating pupils to:

  • Complete an application form giving details about the reason for wanting to participate and why they thought listening was important.
  • Attend the 10hour experiential and interactive Listen Well course
  • Complete a detailed course evaluation
  • Work as a team to create promotional material raising awareness of the importance of listening for wellbeing among young people. The promotional material had to reflect the learning gained on the course and be suitable to be used by Listen Well Scotland for marketing. The winning school Speyside High School produced a moving and creative short video which can be seen on: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=74P-XlbY594

They were presented with their Award on 7th February

Picture by JASON HEDGES
Pictures show pupils from Speyside High School in Aberour are pictured with their award and certificates.

With increasing concern over the mental wellbeing of young people in the UK The Listen Well Award has provided young people with the opportunity to:

  • contribute positively to mental wellbeing among their peers through improved communication.
  • gain transferable life skills and a greater awareness of the connection between listening and wellbeing.
  • understand the importance of listening for building resilience, improving

self- esteem and achieving personal potential.

The young people have now been considering ways in which they can develop a greater listening culture within their school using the skills learned on the course. A number have already set aside space and time for pupils to be able to talk informally about low level issues with one of the Listen Well pupils.

With more young people learning the skills of active listening there is the potential to reduce the demand on Guidance Staff and children’s psychological services.

And so participating schools are also keen to provide Listening Time4U – our one to one listening service – delivered by our adult Registered Listeners who are trained and supervised by Listen Well Scotland.

Being able to LISTEN WELL provides immense therapeutic benefits in preventative and early intervention in mental health. Listening empowers others to tell their story without judgement, find their own solutions and as a result discover inner resilience and wellbeing.

 

If funding can be secured, 2018 – The Year of Young People – will see continued development of our work with the focus on the wellbeing of young people through:

  • The Listen Well Award being rolled out to other schools in Scotland over the next 3-5 years
  • Further recruitment and training of volunteers to provide Listening Time4U in schools
  • The provision of our one-day training “Get Listening!” for teachers to further resource them with skills to come alongside young people experiencing stress and anxiety which is impacting on their mental wellbeing.