Demand surges for kids’ mind health programme
Demand for a programme aimed at equipping school children with tools to navigate life’s ups and downs has more than doubled in the past three months.
Interest in Pause Breathe Smile with Southern Cross has increased significantly since September, when the programme was made available without cost for the first time to any primary or intermediate school in New Zealand.
First launched in 2013, the Pause Breathe Smile programme had already reached 65,000 kids before teaming up with Southern Cross.
New Zealand’s independent health and wellness provider, Southern Cross has joined forces with the Pause Breathe Smile Trust and the Mental Health Foundation to fund the programme.
Spokesperson Joanne Mahon says Southern Cross is delighted by the level of interest from teachers, schools and parents in New Zealand’s own locally designed and internationally recognised schools’ mindfulness programme.
"This increase in demand since the costs associated with participating in the programme were removed shows us there is huge appetite for a structured programme like this for schools.
“We wanted to support a programme that directly benefited our children and the fantastic uptake means we can start to make a real impact on the mind health of our kids.
"We’re thrilled to be able to make a tangible difference for Kiwi kids as part of our commitment to helping to build a healthier future for all New Zealanders."
The director of mindfulness training and development for Pause Breathe Smile Grant Rix says with financial barriers to schools participating in the programme now a thing of the past, the programme had been scaled up to meet demand.
"The last three months have been a game changer for us. If all the schools that have contacted us since September go ahead with bookings, we will double the number of schools we have reached in the past two and a half years before we teamed up with Southern Cross.
"We knew demand was likely to be high but it’s always difficult to gauge. Now we are building the team to scale up to meet this increased demand, which is a wonderful position to be in."
Pause Breathe Smile provides professional learning and development for teachers who deliver the programme in their classrooms and incorporate its practices into their teaching.
Academic studies- have found Pause Breathe Smile reduces stress, boosts conflict resolution skills and enhances self-awareness, while research by Southern Cross-- shows 55 per cent of New Zealand parents are concerned about their children’s ability to cope with everyday life.