Bereavement support in schools

Whatever the bereavement situation our children may find themselves in there will always be a ripple effect on their behaviour and relationships. It may be that they have lost somebody close within the family unit and/or been touched perhaps by the loss of a friend or neighbour. These feelings may levae them feeling isolated and fearful.

Children often find it difficult to vocabularise their emotions and therefore it is vital that they are given the opportunity to discuss how they are feeling. As ever I always recommend that their school are kept in the loop about anything which may affect their wellbeing and possibly their school work.

Please read my piece on Innovate My School’s website:-



Looking for the best

I am a great believer in giving the other guy the benefit of the doubt and trying to look for the best, but appreciate that with some individuals this is not so easy.

As a child I remember my mother asking us to even make allowances for the bullies as after all they were basically unhappy children.  Some truth in that of course and my regular followers know that anti-bullying is a subject of frequent posts.

In life it is often about changing our own attitudes which makes us stronger.

To quote Mahatma Ghandi:-

‘Before we expect to see our desired qualities in others, we should assimilate them in ouselves. We are all wonderful and extremely beautiful from the inside and the more we see the same thing in others, we shall get the same in return.’

Even in business this is true and from an early age I was encouraged to ‘kill customers with kindness‘ backed up by great training films featuring John Cleese on how not to treat them!

Keep smiling.

Positive healing

Some years ago I attended a patient recovery meeting held at my local hospital. The staff and speakers made it quite clear that the ratio for recovery lies 20% with surgeon and 80% with patient. I will clarify by saying it was said with regards to hip and knee operations but I know it applies to far more and not just in terms of operation recovery.

If exercise is part of the recovery journey then we must do it, if rest is recommended for other treatment then we should take heed too. However, I am in no doubt, and due to own personal experience, that positive healing comes from within and how we use our mind to heal the mind and the body is vital.

Positive healing may come to us via those that love us and help us when we are suffering physically or mentally, and, the medical experts… not forgetting our wonderful nurses who tend to our practical and emotional needs when in hospital. Often a few kind words and positive approach will register far more than the pain killers.

Over the past ten years plus I have had amazing support and treatment from a London hospital and my specialist has an incredible positive presence. A few minutes of speaking with him one feels better, based on trust, his expertise and his approach to his patients.

When we are ill we are all at our most vulnerable and that is when we really truly appreciate how we are treated and supported. However, the most important person in our endeavours to be well and strong is of course ourselves. Applying mindfulness, being positive, but realistic in our step at a time recovery will enable us to achieve our goal.

Keeping fit and positive in mind will always help us to recover from any illness or help us come to terms with any limitations that illness may bring, it should be preventative rather than cure. However, if we are struggling it is better to be honest and talk to those that can help…but only if they know.

A Dr  uttered a few simple words to me once ‘you will get through this‘ and he was right I did. But his faith and positivity have never been forgotten.


Oesophageal Cancer -OPA

My regular followers will know there are a few cancer charities and conditions that I like to support with awareness. Oesophageal Cancer is one which is dear to my own heart.

In the past I was happy to donate my own story to the OPA -Oesophageal Patients Association and continue to help with awareness. Anybody that has worked within the not-for-profit sector and/or medical and health environments know the value of awareness and of course research.

The OPA now have various support groups and their website is well-worth visiting both as a patient and/or a carer of supportive family member.

Sadly Oesophageal cancers are often either misdiagnosed or not diagnosed. Also far too many of us self-diagnose what we believe to be ‘indigestion’ and reach for the well advertised remedies. This was the case with my own mother who did not receive the right treatment in time but certainly took a lot of ‘remedies’ encouraged by her GP!

As today’s blog is ‘listening themed’ listen to your body it is trying to tell you what is wrong; emotionally and physically which are of course more often than not inter-linked. Find out why it is reacting the way it is; diet…stress..or medical? Masking symptoms may be a short term fix but becomes the longer term problem.

Our digestive system is of course similar to our brain..rubbish in rubbish out! Seriously, if you are looking for a good book  and ways to be kinder to your own system:

The clever guts diet’  by Dr Mosley is an informative and interesting read.

Be slowly.

Closing comment Yes chocolate (with dark and high cocoa content) is good for you.


Preventing bullying

As the new term at schools commences there will be many children and parents concerned about the bullying that sadly exists within schools. Hardly a day goes by when we are not hearing about a tragic account of either face to face or cyber bullying and the drastic affect it has on the victims. Schools and parents should be reminding pupils to take responsibility for their actions and just how dangerous bullying can be when it gets out of hand…banter is only banter when everyone is laughing.

Only this week I was talking to a mother who expressed her frustration in the poor way her son’s school had reacted to her pleas for help. This was also the subject of a phone in today on This Morning TV.  Sadly, parents who are faced with a distraught child are often feeling so understandably emotional and helpless that they do not have the energy to fight their child’s corner. In addition they can be met with reluctance by some schools to actually deliver the ‘anti-bullying programme’ they are duty bound to impose.

I echo the advice given today; if your school are not proactive, talk to the chair of governors, local authority or when appropriate the Police.  Please read my piece on tackling cyber bullying on Innovate My School’s website:-

Bereavement support within schools

The best advice often offered when a child loses a family member or close friend is to give them as much support as possible, but also try to maintain some routine in their life. As with any emotional hurdle your child may need to overcome it is always a good idea to keep their school informed so they too can support your child.

Please read my article on Innovate My School’s website which gives advice on returning to school, seeking help from their school pastoral and counselling. Link follows:-

Support for eating disorders

Recently watched the Panorama programme dedicated to eating disorders in men and boys presented by Nigel Owens the Rugby referee. Worrying stats were revealed of young men being affected by eating disorders with 42% increase in referrals over the last two years.

As with most mental illnesses intervention early really does aid success for recovery. Sadly youngsters wait far too long for referrals for support help and often are turned down because of shortage of staff and a variety of other factors.

We all keep hearing how the government are investing billions into this area with aims to see children within four weeks, one week for real emergencies! In reality this will be impossible to achieve meanwhile a lot of male youngsters suffer in silence.

The documentary covered various cases demonstrating the devestating affects on the body and mind with 13 -17 most at high risk. It revealed facts from support agencies; Beat charity receive 20,000 calls a year. Often eating disorders are viewed as ‘female illnesses’ when this is clearly no longer the case – even so this ‘assumption’ can make it harder for parents and GP’s to recognise/diagnose.

As ever modern media plays its part in making youngsters concerned about their visual appearance and so it starts. Often eating disorders are associated with boys who are struggling to come to terms with their sexuality too.

Nigel closed the episode by saying it is a strength to admit one has a problem not a weakness, and advising viewers not to be like him still suffering some 27 years on. Get help and stay one step a head and have a chance of recovering.