• The Hummingbird Project: A Positive Psychology Intervention for Secondary School Students

      Platt, Ian Andrew; Kannangara, Chathurika; Tytherleigh, Michelle; Carson, Jerome; University of Chester; University of Bolton
      Mental health in schools has attracted a lot of attention in recent years. Positive Psychology Interventions (PPIs) in secondary schools have been shown to improve mental health outcomes for students. Previous PPIs have tended to be delivered by trained Psychology specialists or have tended to focus on a single aspect of Positive Psychology such as Mindfulness. The current study involved 2 phases. Phase 1 was a pilot PPI, delivered by current university students in Psychology, which educated secondary school students (N = 90) in a variety of Positive Psychology concepts. Phase 2 involved delivering the PPI to secondary school students (N = 1,054). This PPI, the Hummingbird Project, led to improvements in student well-being, as measured by the World Health Organization Well-Being Index (WHO-5). The intervention also led to improvements in student resilience, as measured by the Bolton Uni-Stride Scale (BUSS), and hope, as measured by the Children’s Hope Scale (CHS). Results are discussed in the context of their implications for the future of psychological intervention in secondary school settings.
    • “I too matter”. The experience and impact of a brief online self-compassion intervention for informal carers of those with a life-limiting or terminal illness: A mixed methods study

      Reeves, Andrew; Gubi, Peter; Diggory, Catherine J. (University of Chester, 2020-09)
      Aims: Being an informal carer of someone with a life-limiting or terminal illness (‘Carer’) often results in marked levels of depression, anxiety and stress. Yet, Carers have little available free time to devote to lengthy, well-being interventions offered outside the home. Carers also struggle to prioitorise their self-care, a factor which may help buffer some of the negative impacts of being a Carer. The aim of this research was to gain insight into Carers’ views and perceptions of the impact of a brief, four module, online self-compassion intervention for Carers which was created to improve wellbeing, increase self-compassion and develop self-care among Carers. In so doing, the research addresses gaps in the literature relating to self-compassion interventions for Carers and targeted self-care initiatives for Carers. Design: This predominantly qualitative study was undertaken in two phases. In Phase One semi-structured interviews with nine participants of a four module, one to one self-compassion intervention (iCare), delivered in person, were conducted and data subjected to a reflexive thematic analysis within a critical realist framework. Additionally, descriptive statistics were collected. The findings from Phase One provided a theoretical basis for the design and content of the online version of iCare, the intervention studied in Phase Two. Seven Carers completed the four module online self-compassion programme. Data were collected through individual module feedback, post-intervention online qualitative questionnaires and descriptive statistics. Findings: The reflexive thematic analysis of the data generated four overarching themes: The Myth of SuperCarer; Get with the programme!; ‘Being kinder to myself’; and Everyone’s a winner. These explored how participants approached iCareonline, the impact engaging with it had on their well-being and highlighted how participants developed self-care through gaining permission to recognise their own needs. Improvements in psychological well-being and increases in self-compassion were reflected in the quantitative findings. In line with critical realist methodology, a causal mechanism was proposed explaining the development of self-compassion and conscious self-care among participants based on a cyclical model of Carer self-compassion. Implications: This study has relevance for: healthcare practitioners as the findings suggest that these professionals have a key role in legitimising Carer needs and fostering permission in Carers to practise self-care; counselling and psychotherapy professionals who work with Carers who are well-placed to challenge barriers Carer-clients may erect in the face of encouragement to practise self-care and self-compassion. Some of the content of iCare may prove useful to those therapists adopting a pluralistic approach when working with clients who are carers. Finally, teachers of mindful self-compassion could note the importance of the permission-giving aspects of a self-compassion intervention and the role it plays in developing conscious self-care in participants.