What is IHEART?
IHEART – Innate Health Education and Resilience Training – is our dedicated project addressing the needs and issues of young people. This innovative educational and early prevention strategy enables us to deliver our mission to build resilience in the next generation.
IHEART has been created and designed by Innate Health to educate children and teenagers about their innate resilience and mental wellbeing. We collaborate with schools and other community-based and voluntary organisations that address young people’s needs in order to share the IHEART programme and specially-designed curriculum with as many young people as possible in a variety of settings, both inside and outside the school environment.
We share a simple understanding of the invisible power of the mind, dynamically educating young people that all of our felt experience of life, which includes our thinking, feelings, emotions, attitudes, moods and states of mind, is always created from the mind. We feel what we think. Knowing this simple but often overlooked fact has enormous implications: it realigns us with our common sense, creativity, and wellbeing. It is the antidote to over-thinking, judgment, conflict, stress and chronic bad feeling. It allows us to regain our natural resilience no matter what circumstances we are facing, be it exam stress, personal struggles, peer and social issues, conflict with teachers, or challenging family dynamics.
What is the IHEART Curriculum?
This brand-new, cutting edge contribution to the field of young people’s mental health education consists of a structured series of lessons that have been creatively and thoughtfully designed with young people in mind. The initial foundation lessons begin by explaining how our psychological experience of life is created and how the mind works. These are followed by a series of implication lessons that address the many issues facing young people today. The curriculum is educational in nature as opposed to being therapeutic, and is solution-based as opposed to being problem-oriented. The weekly lessons are facilitated by trained Innate Health facilitators via interactive discussions, multi-media activities such as dynamic video clips, real-life examples, and group exercises.
Students are introduced to the powerful role that the mind, via thought, plays in creating all moment-to-moment realities, feeling states, moods and behaviours. The common misunderstandings that create barriers to natural resilience and wellbeing are explored, allowing them to discover the crucial link between thought and feeling. Students realise how they often land up feeling stressed, anxious, judged, aggressive, isolated and victimised when this connection is overlooked. Recognising their role in why they feel and behave the way they do empowers these young people to make changes, be productive and do better in all areas of life.
What makes our approach unique?
Most approaches to young people’s mental health issues focus on problems and crisis interventions, rather than on prevention and education. Our innovative educational approach highlights the innate mental health, wisdom and wellbeing that all young people possess. It is so vital and reaffirming when a young person understands and appreciates the powerful inbuilt ‘factory settings’ that reside within them. This sets them up to thrive in all areas of their lives. So we do not give children better ‘coping strategies’ to deal with their issues, but focus rather on pointing them in the direction of the way their minds work.
What else does IHEART offer?
We have found that learning occurs most when undertaken and shared within the wider school community and the family. The IHEART programme therefore works with teachers, school leaders, parents and families – as well as students and peers – in order to generate maximum impact.
- Resilience Laboratory
This unique half-day, in-school experience, is fun, interactive and highly educational. Activities, exercises and dynamic multi-media sessions introduce students to the core principles behind the resiliency programme. Students become “scientists” for a morning or afternoon, as they explore their own “flat earth thinking” which, often unbeknownst to them, is creating barriers to thriving in so many areas of their lives.
- One-to-one mentoring sessions for children and teenagers
Where requested and recommended, young people receive mentoring and mental health support on a one-to-one basis with an IHEART practitioner. The aim of these individualised educational-based sessions is to identify and address specific personal issues and challenges that the young person many be facing.
- Training for Teachers and School Leaders
Engaging the school’s educational team further supports and strengthens the implementation of the IHEART programme. Our Resilience and Wellbeing Facilitator Training programme for school leaders, teachers and mentors focuses on understanding the core principles behind the “inside-out” resiliency approach and the effective and dynamic delivery of the curriculum to young people. Upon completion of the training, participants receive certification in Resilience and Wellbeing in the Classroom.
- Workshops for Parents
Building resilience in the next generation requires engaging parents and other family members, as well as young people. We encourage the development of a common language within the family so that parents can help create a resilient family unit. Informative workshops assist parents in nurturing healthy conversations and interactions with their children, develop understanding as to the origin of stress and distress, and facilitate their child’s emergence into confident, independent and responsible adults in a healthy family setting.