Posted on April 20, 2018 by staff

‘Children need same resilience as FTSE 100 CEOs’


Children now need to be taught the same resilience and mental health skills as FTSE 100 CEOs, says myHappymind founder Laura Earnshaw.

Earnshaw spent 15 years working with global CEOs and universities like Harvard Business School helping top leaders develop resilience, the ability to cope with change and leadership skills.

She realised that her children weren’t being taught the same skills in school, despite growing up in an increasingly uncertain landscape, and set up myHappymind to deliver the course to schools.

“We brought together the best science and psychology around happiness and wellbeing with the best tech,” she told BusinessCloud.

There are three main products – for schools, for nurseries and for families – all delivered by an online portal.

“All the content is done for you so it’s very easy for schools,” she said.

“The lesson’s there when they log on and it means no prep time, no bureaucracy or paperwork – they can just click and teach.”

The course teaches a range of habits to help children become more resilient and practise good mental health.

“One example is that we teach children what their key character strengths are, which are not based on competence such as ‘I’m good at football or maths’, which is how it’s mostly measured,” she said.

“It’s based around your innate strengths, so we use a science-backed model that looks at things like curiosity, humour and determination.

“We help children identify and celebrate that every day and see the most incredible uplift in self-esteem with kids who have never been able to say ‘I’m good at something’.

“It’s the same thing I used to do with CEOs. I literally teach the same science to children aged between four and 11 as I did with FTSE 100 CEOs. The science is the same, all that’s changed is the delivery mechanism.”

Earnshaw and her team are trying to change way education is delivered and as part of this also gives a tailored version of the programme to teachers for free.

“Teacher wellbeing is a real issue and burnout is massive, with levels of depression and anxiety in teachers off the scale,” she said.

By tackling the problem from all angles and taking a pre-emptive approach to children’s mental health it means these young people have the toolkits to look after themselves in future.

Teachers have also found them to be calmer and perform better in school says Earnshaw.

“We give children the skills to thrive and it’s also scientifically proven to prevent mental ill health in future,” she said.

“If you can teach a child positive habits at a young age to cope and thrive, and give them the tools and techniques so that when they hit tough times – which of course we all will – you will prevent mental ill health.”

The young company also has an app for parents to use to help them keep up with the learning journey from home.

“If you can get the conversation reinforced in the home you’ve got much more chance of creating sustainability around habits,” said Earnshaw.

“Most schools don’t really communicate with parents and we want as much integration and embedding as possible.”