What happens in your body when you feel unsafe?
When you know something isn’t right?
When you feel threatened?
Is it the same as what happens for me?
Is it the same as what happens for young people who have expressed this through art?
This body-mapping activity is just one of the many tools we use to support young people in building their self-awareness, with the overall goal to
- Improve social and emotional wellbeing
- Improve use of coping skills
- Increase resilience,
- And improve emotional regulation
Our webinars are designed to reflect the award winning and evidence-based programmes we normally run with groups face-to-face. There seems to have been a distinct lack of young people’s voices being heard and considered during the pandemic so our content is being adapted and tailor-made to what young people are asking for support with, with the aim of guiding participants through a reflective journey to process some of their experiences (and the impact these are having both short and long term). We know that the range of experiences young people have had during the pandemic has been huge – we’ve seen young people thrive who we were expecting to struggle and vice versa.
But no matter what the response, the fact is that everyone now has a shared experience of a threat to our survival, a time of transition, uncertainty, making-things-up-as-we-go-along and working together when things aren’t going well.
This ‘we’re all in it together’ experience creates a huge opportunity:
- For more relational, restorative and trauma informed policies to support the transition (of young people and staff) back into school
- For more open conversations about self-care, how the system can support staff and the knock on effect having regulated, resourced staff has on young people
- For a focus on social and emotional wellbeing in the curriculum - there is no ‘going back’ or ‘catching up’ and we need to account for this in how we expect young people to learn, and what our educational priorities are
Khulisa has been advocating for all of these changes long before the covid-19 crisis. We believe our programmes are more needed than ever. This pandemic impacts us all, to varying degrees and through our digital offer we hope to keep connection and attachment alive so that young people are more than ‘just surviving’, and ‘social distancing’ applies to physicality alone.
We know that relationships build resilience and buffer against the impact of stress and adversity. Without connection our sense of belonging and social and emotional wellbeing suffers. Without providing a contained, safe space to explore and reflect on our experiences we are not only failing to respond to the needs of vulnerable young people, but all young people.
The Chinese symbol for Crisis is said to combine both ‘Danger’ and ‘Opportunity’. Despite how disorienting and turbulent the pandemic is, it is also an opportunity to be creative with:
- How we reach and engage with young people
- How we role model resilience, self-care and self-awareness
- How we regulate ourselves so we can co-regulate with young people, and
- How we come through a period of adversity transformed rather than devastated by it.
This pandemic has bought us frighteningly close to our vulnerabilities. It has shown us that we are not as safe as we assumed we were. And it has shown us where our strengths lie. Let’s continue to nurture these strengths and work together to move away from the old, and arrive safely in something new.
To find out more about our webinars please see our website or contact Thalia Wallis – email@example.com