On Tuesday 7 February, the College was fortunate to welcome Alicia Drummond, BACP accredited therapist, parenting expert and founder of Teen Tips as a guest speaker to deliver a series of mental health and wellbeing talks to pupils and parents.

She began with a talk to Prep School pupils in Years 6 – 8, focusing on supplying the children with tools and techniques to help them manage the stresses of everyday life. Her insights gave the pupils a GRIT analogy to work with, applying the principles of Guts, Resourcefulness, Imagination and Tenacity which, she told the pupils, would help them to keep going when things get tough and enable them to become the best versions of themselves.

Alicia also challenged the Prep School pupils to consider what they feel makes people successful and what their own measures of success were. She also initiated a thought-provoking discussion on the importance of having courage, exploring feeling fearful of something but doing it anyway in order to truly discover what, as individuals, we are capable of. She referenced this with examples of embracing failure that have enabled famous people, including inventor James Dyson and author JK Rowling, to apply their ‘bounce back ability’ in order to reach their goals.

Years 9 and 10 at the Senior School were provided with some powerful advice and important practical tools to help them navigate the mental health challenges of worry, stress and anxiety. Alicia’s insights into the differences between worry and anxiety were followed by her recommendations on how to cope with situational stress and stress triggers.

Her explanations of the science of anxiety, the human fight or flight mode response and the physical effects on the body were both fascinating and informative. Utilising her vast experience as a therapist she then talked pupils through the principles of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and the correlation between thoughts, feelings and behaviour – in short, by changing what you do you can change how you think and therefore how you feel. She also gave this younger Senior School cohort examples of healthy vs unhealthy coping strategies to apply to their individual experiences.

Later in the afternoon, parents of both Prep and Senior School aged children were the beneficiaries of Alicia’s vast experience of understanding adolescence, where she shared her thorough understanding of the developmental and cognitive changes that happen during adolescence and a range of ways in which parents and carers can adjust their own behaviours and expectations in order to support and meet the social and emotional needs of their children.

All Framlingham College parents, as well as pupils from Years 7 – 13, have free access to the Teen Tips Wellbeing Hub, an interactive online portal designed to help parents understand the challenges facing young people in today’s modern society and support their children during their teenage years.

We encourage you to utilise all the resources on the site, many of which Alicia referenced in all her talks. As it is a paid website, parents will need to register. Please follow the private link from here.

We look forward to welcoming Alicia back to the College for further events throughout the course of the rest of the academic year. Equally, if you would like to listen to Alicia talk to some of our pupils about many of the mental health challenges experienced by today’s teenagers including anxiety, social media, relationships and mobile phones, you can listen here to our Framlingham College In Conversation Podcast.

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