The Family Wellness Project is an early intervention mental health project for children aged 5 - 12 and their families. It has been awarded five years funding from the Big Lottery Fund under the Reaching Out Supporting Families programme.
The five year project, led by MindWise in partnership with Action Mental Health, AWARE, Cause, Parenting NI and the Trusts’ Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), will support 500 families in the Southern and Western Health and Social Care Trust areas.
The project aims to enhance the emotional health and wellbeing of children aged 5 - 12 who are at risk of developing significant mental health difficulties if early intervention measures are not identified and addressed, with a view to reducing their need for more intensive or long term support from statutory/other services.
The project will adopt a holistic person and family centred approach which will help families to better support their children, understand and cope with their circumstances, to be part of the community they live in and to experience less stigma and discrimination.
Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP)
The Family Wellness Project uses the WRAP approach with the families we work with.
Wellness: A sense of feeling good about yourself and not feeling sad or angry more than normal. People with a sense of wellness live and enjoy life.
Recovery: This is a journey. It can be anything but it generally involves feeling better about yourself, an illness or a problem.
Action: This is what you can do. The things that you put in place or change in your life to help the recovery journey.
Plan: The idea of a plan here is that you will have an idea of what it looks like when you are well and what it looks like when you aren’t well. You can write it down, type it out or be as creative as you want when creating your plan.
WRAP was developed by Mary Ellen Copeland and other people who had been feeling bad for years and developed a plan to feel better.
It can be used by anyone who wants to create positive change in the way they feel, increase their enjoyment of life or increase wellness. This system is something which is individual to each person; no one can create it for you. It will help you to keep track of some of the difficult feelings you can have and develop actions which can make you feel better. The plan is developed to try and help you stay as well as possible. Progress is measured by you not by someone else. Wrap will help you think through a process, recognising subtle signs of changes which may indicate things are worsening for you. It sets out actions that you create to make yourself feel better, get well and stay well
WRAP is not a replacement for traditional medical treatment and other therapies, it is complementary to them. It may not prevent or completely alleviate difficulties but it is hoped that with using it, we can reduce the difficult times and be able to deal with them without them escalating therefore preventing crisis.
WRAP can be used for any aspect of life. You should always develop a WRAP when you feel well. You can be as creative as you want with WRAP - it’s up to you how it’s done.
The Family Wellness Project offer a range of services to help support your family.
Child and Family Support Workers
After your GP has referred your family to the project you will be allocated a Child and Family Support Worker. They will arrange weekly support meetings with over a couple of months to help you and your child implement your own action plans.
Visit your GP or a professional working with your child and they will be able to decide if your family would benefit from the type of support that the Family Wellness Project provide and make a referral on your behalf.
The Family Wellness Project delivers programme with partners Action Mental Health and Aware NI to groups of parents and carers and also with young people in schools in the Western and Southern Trusts.
View the Programme Calendar
Parenting NI host Family Wellness Project web pages with lots of info for parents and carers to help them with supporting their children's mental health.
Browse through resources around anxiety, anger, talking about mental health and many more.
Equine Assisted Learning
Equine Assisted Learning allows participants to take part in activities with horses which bring meaning to their lives, and by discussing their own thoughts, feelings and behaviours, can change the way they react to life stresses.
Equine Assisted Learning promotes problem solving skills, improves communication, helps participants to gain self-confidence and helps them to learn to trust themselves and others.
"It was a brilliant experience that you can learn so much from."
"I found it extremely calming. Very tranquil setting. I did feel awkward at the beginning but the girls didn’t. I think this is down to me being an adult. This disappeared though as the session progressed. Got to discuss some issues between each other and it was very good for them, and me, to see that it is ok to be alone and to have that space sometimes."
This service is delivered through Journey NI.
Parent Support Groups and 1 to 1 Support
The Family Wellness Project facilitate Parent Support Groups through project partner CAUSE.
Groups are held on a weekday evening, once a month for approximately 1.5 – 2 hours in a local community setting. Meetings are an opportunity to share experience and knowledge with other parents and carers in a similar position in a safe, relaxed and confidential environment.
The Support Group meetings are focused on examining what tools are available to prevent further emotional health and well-being difficulties from arising, through developing skills and knowledge from others under the guidance of a facilitator.
One to one meetings are available for parents with children 5-12 years with learning difficulties (Autism, Dyslexia, ADHD, DCD), who can also avail of the advocacy service.
What families have said...
For more information on the Family Wellness Project get in touch with the Network Coordinator: