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Children's mental health book by Surrey nurse to be rolled out in schools across the county

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A book written by a school nurse and Nursing Times Award winner is set to help primary school children across Surrey to develop positive mental health, following the success of a pilot scheme.

To coincide with Children’s Mental Health Week, all 317 primary schools in Surrey are receiving a specially written book and teaching resource pack to help Reception and Year 1 pupils develop into emotionally and mentally resilient teenagers and adults.

“To improve the country’s mental health, we need to start with the next generation”

Katrina Sealey

The author behind the book – titled Angry, ANGRY Angus – is specialist practitioner school nurse Katrina Sealey, who created the story to help provide children with phrases they need to communicate their feelings.

According to service provider Children and Family Health Surrey, where Ms Sealey works, the book, activities and lesson plan will help teachers and parents to give children aged four to six the words they need to talk about their feelings and express their emotions.

In turn, it said that this will help to increase children’s chances of having good mental health as they get older. The organisation funded a successful pilot of the book and teaching resource pack last year for schools.

Following this, both are now being made available to all infant and primary schools in Surrey to use as part of the national Physical Health Social Education (PHSE) curriculum. In addition, all libraries in the county have also received a copy.

“Promoting mental and emotional health and resilience of children is an important part of the NHS Long Term Plan and Angry, ANGRY Angus does this in a fun way”

Trudy Mills

The book features Angus the badger who sometimes feels angry but does not know how to tell people how he feels without losing him temper.

His family and friends show him how to listen to those around him and how to talk about what he is feeling. During the book, the badger also learns how he can even help his friends to feel less angry by listening and talking to them.

To help provide children with the language they need to discuss their feelings and explain what is going on inside them, the book uses phrases such as “I think”, “I feel”, “I know” and “I remember”.

The book and other academic work contributed to Ms Sealy being named Rising Star of the Year at the annual Nursing Times Awards in November 2017.

Ms Sealey said: “Mental health and emotional wellbeing is such an important and growing issue for children and young people.”

She noted that in 2004, 10.1% of five to 15-year-olds suffered mental ill health, adding that this rose to 11.2% in 2017.

rising star katrina sealey

rising star katrina sealey

Source: CHS Surrey

“This is equivalent to four children in a class of 32,” she said. “To improve the country’s mental health, we need to start with the next generation – by helping young children to understand and effectively express their feelings and emotions and understand those around them.” 

Ms Sealey said: “Angry, ANGRY Angus is helping to give children the skills to live in good mental health as they grow up.”

Children and Family Health Surrey is the Surrey-wide NHS community health service for children and young people from birth up to 19 years of age and their parents and carers.

Trudy Mills, director of Children and Family Health Surrey, said: “We’re really proud to be offering this valuable initiative to all the primary schools in Surrey, especially with Children’s Mental Health Week taking place this week.

“Promoting the mental and emotional health and resilience of children and young people is an important part of the new NHS Long Term Plan and Angry, ANGRY Angus does this in a fun way that children can understand and enjoy,” she added.

The book Angry, ANGRY Angus is available for purchase via the online retailer Amazon.

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