MindMatters in Minutes. Resilience Programs and Planning.

Let’s say you’ve decided to make resilience a high priority in your school and you want to implement a whole of school program. How do you avoid launching something that in the end just sits on the shelf gathering dust? How do you implement a program so that it really takes off?

Well, first you need to be selective. There are loads of resilience programs out there, of varying quality. Take the time to work out what you really want to achieve, research and compare the available options, and then choose something that will work for your school in terms of resourcing, approach and strategic intent.

Second, you’ll need to figure out how you can get buy-in from staff and students. To be effective, a resilience program typically needs to be practised intensively over a long period of time, and this takes a big commitment from everyone involved. How can you engage your particular staff and student community?

Third, how are you going to deliver the program? Do you need to plan lessons?

Who will deliver them? School staff, or experts from outside the school?

What if the program is entirely online? And how do you reinforce students and staff applying the program content day to day?

Finally, you should consider how you can evaluate the program. At some point you will want to assess whether or not the program has had an impact on your school so you can decide if you should keep going or not.

And this is a really important point. A resilience program is not a guarantee of anything. And it’s not a magic bullet. You can’t just insert an external program into your school and expect everyone’s problems to disappear. It needs to be treated as part of your whole school mental health strategy.

So if you choose wisely, plan carefully, and keep thinking critically about your strategy, then you will set yourself success.

So where are you at in the process? How would you go about choosing a resilience program? Who could help you plan its implementation? How would it fit with the rest of your mental health strategy? How could you set yourself up for success?