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Emotional Health and Me

Picture, if you will, a thirty year old divorced man with two children whom he has for part of every week. He is also holding down a demanding job and volunteers as a school governor. This man has all the pressures you would expect someone in this position to have, plus his own personal baggage from childhood and his own unique experiences which have shaped him to this point.

The school he serves as governor decides to undertake some whole school emotional health training, using The Nurturing Programme by Family Links, now The Centre for Emotional Health. The man attends and realises two things; firstly, that this programme is beneficial for everyone not just parents and teachers and, secondly, that he already has the foundations of the course. He just needed support to identify and start using them. At The Centre for Emotional health we call these our Emotional health Assets and you can read more about them on our website. Fast forward twenty years and that same man (me!) is now Chief Executive of the Centre for Emotional health, and I consider it a privilege and a joy to be at the helm of such a significant organisation.

Over the course of those intervening years I have used the tools collected in my emotional toolkit to great effect, as a parent, as a teacher, as a headteacher, in other work settings, as a family member, a husband and a friend. Most significantly, those skills and strategies have helped to steer me through some patches of challenging mental health as well.

This is why I am so vocal about the importance of Emotional Health. It has beneficially impacted my life personally and professionally and also hearing the stories of change from people like PJ, a dad seeing the positive impact of the Nurturing Programme on both his life and that of his child.

At The Centre for Emotional Health, we are passionate about our vision of everyone living an emotionally healthy life. Since 1997, we have reached over 1.4m parents and children by training over 40,000 professionals who go on to work across the community in local authority services including Family Hubs, in schools, the voluntary sector, health, prisons and in faith organisations. Our relationship-centred approach means we work in a collaborative way and in partnership wherever possible.

At a national level, we raise awareness of what emotional health is and why it is important, influencing policy to create a more emotionally healthy society. We know that everyone needs good emotional health for themselves as individuals and also to enable them to contribute to creating an emotionally healthy culture wherever they are. We have recently partnered with the think tank Demos to produce a report highlighting the impact good emotional health could have on society as a whole. In this report we are calling on the Government to recommit to a standalone, cross-government mental health & wellbeing plan, to incorporate emotional health into its long-term plan to ensure that health is considered in all policies and to invest in evidence-based training and programmes on emotional health. We would like to see every adult experiencing positive relationships so that everyone can both contribute to and benefit from being in emotionally healthy families, communities, schools and workplaces.

The benefits of good emotional health are significant and that is why we do what we do.

Peter Leonard, Chief Executive at The Centre for Emotional Health


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