“All children should read this book”: No Worries, say Forthview parents
Praise for Forthview parents’ ‘wonderful resource’
A book encouraging children to talk about anxiety has been written and published by Forthview Primary School parents as part of Children’s Mental Health Week. The parents’ work has been praised by Lothians MSP Miles Briggs, who tabled a congratulatory motion at the Scottish Parliament.
‘No Worries’ tells the tale of a group of primary school children going on school camp, each facing and overcoming their different anxieties. Each of the eight characters’ stories was developed by a parent drawing on their own experiences.
The Forthview parents were helped in their venture through a series of writing workshops with author Mary Turner Thomson and used money from the school’s Pupil Equity Funding to publish the book with WhiteWater Publishing Ltd.
The launch, which took place yesterday at the National Library of Scotland, was attended by Deputy First Minister and Education Secretary John Swinney alongside Councillor Alison Dickie, Vice Convener of the city council’s Education, Children and Families committee.
The Forthview book launch was one of several events involving schools and young people across the Capital to highlight Children’s Mental Health Week. These include St Catherine’s Primary School pupils contributing to a short film on mental health, a singing workshop at Tynecastle High (both also supported by Place2Be) and a young people’s event exploring social anxiety and young people as part of the council’s Growing Confidence programme.
Forthview parent, Yvonne Thompson, said: “Writing this book has been a positive experience for each of us, as mental health has an impact on ourselves, our families and within our community. We supported each other through the process of making this book and learnt about the process of writing a book, how we structure stories, use proper grammar and punctuation.
“Writing the book has been somewhat therapeutic for some of us, as we thought about our own anxieties and how they affect us so that we can help our children deal with their worries – it was a great sense of achievement being able to help our children.”
Tracey Berry, the popular Family Support Teacher at Forthview, received an MBE in 2013 for her work at Forthview and Craigmuir schools in West Pilton, and she helped co-ordinate the latest ‘No Worries’ book project.
Tracey said: “At Forthview we are all very excited to have been part of this writing project. This book is really special and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed working closely with this group of parents.
“I’ve watched them grow in confidence as they have produced this wonderful book, written solely with the purpose of supporting their children and other children with a range of anxieties.”
Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education John Swinney said: “Pupil Equity Funding is empowering teachers to put in place creative new initiatives to tackle the attainment gap in their schools.
“This is a great resource which starts to teach children how to handle anxiety in a way they can understand and relate to and I hope it will be put to good use. By giving our young people the right knowledge and understanding about emotional and mental wellbeing we can help to ensure important conversations about mental health become an everyday part of life.”
Councillor Alison Dickie, Vice Convener of Education, Children and Families at the City of Edinburgh Council, said: “What a wonderful resource! I’ve been really moved reading ‘No Worries’ as it uses simple language and scenarios that children understand to convey a crucial message about the importance of talking about our feelings and anxieties.
“As a former teacher, (Cllr Dickie taught at Ferryhill Primary in Drylaw) I understand how challenging it can be for young people to deal with their worries, and how alone they can feel. This children’s book helps them to find their own voice and to have that first, sometimes very difficult, opening conversation. All children should read this book!”
The Scottish Conservatives health spokesperson Miles Briggs MSP has congratulated the Forthview parents for their efforts to break down barriers. He said: “The No Worries book is a great initiative to get children talking about their anxieties and mental wellbeing.
“In Scotland there is still stigma attached to mental health and getting children to talk about mental health from a young age is exactly what is needed to break down these barriers. I highly commend all of those involved with the No Worries book for their part in helping to improve young people’s mental health.”
The Lothians MSP tabled the following congratulatory motion at Holyrood:
Title: Edinburgh pupils and parents mark Children’s Mental Health Week
That the Parliament congratulates the parents and pupils in Edinburgh who are helping to highlight Children’s Mental Health Week which takes place this week; notes that parents from Forthview Primary School have written a book entitled “No Worries” which encourages children to talk about anxiety; further notes that the parents were helped in their venture by writing workshops with author Mary Turner Thomson and that the book has been published by WhiteWater Publishing Ltd.;
is also aware that, with the support of Place2Be, pupils from St Catherine’s Primary School are contributing to a short film on mental health and a singing workshop will take place at Tynecastle High, and that a young people’s event exploring social anxiety will take places as part of Edinburgh Council’s Growing Confidence programme; commends all those involved in these initiatives, and considers that they have the potential to play an important role in improving young people’s mental health by raising awareness and understanding of mental health challenges and reducing the stigma that may be associated with them.