What is Nurturing Compassion?
As our society becomes increasingly aware of the importance our children’s health, national targets have been set for cultivating both healthy bodies and healthy minds. At primary school level, the focus has predominantly been on the former and has led to all Scottish primary schools actively working towards implementing a minimum of two hours physical education per week. While it is accepted that cultivating the mental wellbeing of children is of paramount importance, and clear targets underpin our responsibility to do so, there is an insufficient amount of training and resources available to primary school teachers that could enable them to constructively and sustainably engage with this critical objective.
The World Health Organisation recognises that of all health conditions, it is depression that is the leading cause of disability, globally, for both men and women, affecting around 350 million people at any one time (WHO, 2012). Current research indicates that, in the UK, one in every four adults experience a mental health problem in the course of a year and one in every ten children are experiencing poor mental health at any one time. In every primary school class, it is therefore statistically likely for there to be several children suffering significant psychological distress. It is imperative that children are given the opportunity to develop the skills to cultivate and maintain a healthy mind and that the training and resources available to teachers are fundamentally grounded in the science of human development and the wealth of robust research underpinning contemporary evidence-based mental health practice. The Nurturing Compassion programme does exactly that.