Positive Mental Health in Families –
A national roll out of the Parents Plus and Working Things Out programmes as a
targeted family focussed intervention in school settings
Introduction and Background
The Parents Plus Adolescent Programme (PPAP) & the Working Things Out Programme (WTO)
initiative is a collaboration between Parents Plus and the 3Ts Foundation and brings teenagers &
their parents together to work pro-actively on positive mental health. The programmes are evidence
based and promote positive mental health and communication in families, thus reducing the risk of
more entrenched mental health problems amongst young people, especially those who might be
vulnerable or identified as at risk. It aims to build the coping skills of young people and show them
how to seek help at a time of crisis. Uniquely the programme is family centred and shows parents
how to attend to the mental health needs of their children (as well as their own) and thus has the
potential to improve parental mental health and well-being and improve family relationships.
Project Details
The project involves the combined delivery in selected school settings of the
1) Parents Plus Adolescents programme (PPAP) – a group based parenting course that, teaches
relationship building, positive communication and conflict resolution skills.
2) Working Things Out programme (WTO) - a small group mental health intervention for young
people, that promotes positive mental health and builds coping capacity and communication skills.
School staff will select a cohort of young people who may benefit from the participation in the
project. This cohort can include young people who may have specific emotional/behavioral
problems or who are identified as being at risk of mental health problems. The young people will be
invited to attend the WTO group and their parents will be invited to attend the PPAP group. It is also
recommended to inform all families in the school about the intervention and in particular to invite all
parents to attend the parenting course to ensure good take up and attendance.
Course Content
The combined WTO and PPAP programmes (WTOPPAP) will be run in parallel over 8
weeks. The adolescents attend the WTO programme and their parents attend the PPAP during
the same time frame. The families are also offered two additional individual family sessions
(at week 3 and week 6) focused on coaching the parents and young people to develop and
apply positive problem solving approaches.
Table 1
List of the eight weekly topics covered in the PPAP and WTO programmes.
Session
PPAP
WTO
Week 1
Positive Communication
Getting Started
Week 2
Getting along with your Teenager
How we Think Affects what we Feel
and Do
Week 3
Encouraging your Teenager
Managing Feeling Down
Week 4
Listening to your Teenager
New Ways of Thinking
Week 5
Establishing Rules
Stop and Think – The Key to Solving
Problems
Week 6
Using Consequences/having a
Discipline Plan
Dealing with Anger and Conflict
Week 7
Dealing with Conflict
Week 8
Problem Solving
Communicating Well and Building
Relationships
Planning for the Future and Making
Positive Choices
Who Delivers the Programme
The PPAP/ WTO programmes are best delivered by a team of four professionals working within the
school. It is envisaged that these professionals can be drawn from school staff working in student
support roles such as Home School Liaison, School Completion, Guidance Counselling, School
Chaplaincy as well as Class Teachers. In addition, schools have the option of collaborating with
professionals from community agencies such as Family Resource Centres, Teen Counselling
Services, Primary Care psychology etc to offer the intervention in the school. The latter approach
has the added advantage of building collaboration between schools and community mental
health agencies.
Time scale of the project
The PPAP and WTO groups will run in the schools over an 18 month period targeting vulnerable
and at risk youths and their parents in the school setting. The relevant staff from each school will
receive 3 days of training in the programmes in January 2015 (see below), two staff trained in WTO
will facilitate the groups for the young people and two staff trained in the PPAP will deliver this
programme to the parents. Following the facilitator training course further supervision and ongoing
support is offered by Parents Plus to facilitators as they set up and run the groups in the schools.
They are also invited to participate in an accreditation process which allows them to become
accredited programme facilitators of the Parents Plus programmes. Up to ten Secondary Schools
nationally will participate in the first roll out
Benefits of taking part
By taking part you school will receive:
* A full copy of the Parents Plus Programme and Working Things Out package and
supporting materials for your target group
* Professional facilitator 3 day training and ongoing supervision in both programmes
* Opportunity to become a fully accredited facilitator of the Parents Plus programmes
* Opportunity to get a family centred programme established in your school
* Opportunity to build collaboration with community mental health agencies
* Support to deliver the programmes in an evidence-based way for the benefit of the young
people you work with and their families
Commitments
By taking part your school commits to:
* Staff attend the Parents Plus/Working Things Out training (3 days, dates below ), posttraining group supervision sessions (2 half day workshops, date tba) over the course of the 18
month roll outs.
* Follow the Parents Plus/Working Things Out Manual and evidence based Quality Protocol
in the delivery of the groups.
* Facilitating the full intervention (WTO & PPAP) programme (at least eight weeks duration)
twice in your service within 18 months of training. The expectation is that the first group
will start in Spring 2015. Note the time commitment to deliver the group programmes can
be up to one day’s time (1.5 - 2.5 hour group, 1 hour meeting with co-facilitator, 1 hour
meeting with your team of facilitators (WTO & PPAP), 1 hour preparation and 1 hour follow
up with parents/young people)
* Participating in the evaluation by collecting research measures from the parents and young
people who attend your group at pre-group, post-group and 3 month follow-up.
Training Dates:
1. Working Things Out: Thursday and Friday 8th and 9th January 2015
2. Parents Plus Adolescent Programme: Monday/Tuesday 19th, 20th January 2015
3. Combined day for facilitators from both programmes: Wednesday 21st January 2015
Application
If your school is interested in taking part in this initiative please complete the attached
application form and return it to us by email to Eileen Brosnan, Parents Plus Trainer
[email protected] by 28th November 2014. Please make contact in advance with Eileen if
you would like to discuss your application.
Parents Plus Charity
C/o Mater Hospital
15 Vincent Street
Dublin 7
www.parentsplus.ie
Positive Mental Health in Families –
A national roll out of the Parents Plus and Working Things Out programmes as a
targeted family focussed intervention in school settings
Application Form
Name of school:
Name and contact details of Principal:
Name and contact details of person coordinating application
Collaborating Agencies in project:
Name and profession of two facilitators for each programme available for
training
PPAP facilitators:
WTO facilitators:
Previous experience/ training of Parents Plus and Working Things
out Programmes:
Previous experience in school of running similar mental health/ well being
interventions:
What outcomes are you interested in achieving for your school group in
participating in this project?
What group of young people/ families are you interested in targeting in the
delivery of the project?
Please include any other information in support of your application. Why are
you best placed to take part in the project?
Please email your application form by 28th November 2014 to [email protected]
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Positive Mental Health in Families