SMILE or 'Supporting Minds In a Learning Environment' is project of the Family Matters Institute funded by Central Bedfordshire Council to Maintain Positive Emotional Health and Wellbeing in schools.
The project covers the whole of Central Bedfordshire being particularly focused on schools in the areas of highest need.
SMILE provides services across three domains :
- Raising awareness – Improving awareness about mental health and emotional well-being and the removal of stigma. Key elements include a dedicated website, branded literature, Team Around the School meetings and assemblies from people who have overcome adversity.
- Building Capacity – This is based on a structured training programme around building skills and also a framework for accredited training courses. It also includes some structured peer support in a group environment which will be supervised by a trained counsellor. These peer support sessions will be designed to provide an opportunity to share issues and unload, as well as provide strategies to approach different problems within young people.
- Direct Services – The direct services include group counselling sessions from trained counsellors to help young people access structured support and improve their emotional well-being. We are also able to support the delivery of Inspired Life role model programmes in middle schools; helping build aspiration, self esteem and emotional literacy.
Building on the initial success of a pilot of SMILE in Kings Houghton, Holmemead and Alameda clusters during 2009-11 the new project is managed by the Family Matters Institute in partnership with Central Bedfordshire Council and a wider steering group of senior teachers and stakeholders.