Sir Ashley Bloomfield officially joins with Southern Cross to promote good mental health and wellbeing for our tamariki
Sir Ashley Bloomfield and Southern Cross have come together to promote a free and accessible wellbeing programme supporting good mental health and wellbeing among tamariki.
Funded by Southern Cross, the Pause Breathe Smile programme is free and available for all kura, primary and intermediate schools in Aotearoa.
The Pause Breath Smile programme has been active in schools for a few years, but Bloomfield is only now getting involved.
He said it was clear tamariki who had undertaken the programme had benefited from the mindfulness skills they learnt.
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More than 114,000 children had already completed the programme already, he said.
Bloomfield had also started to use mindfulness on an everyday basis and said it was an essential ‘skill for life’.
Southern Cross CEO Chris White said more than 1000 responses from educators trained in the programme showed positive behaviour in the classroom had increased by 12.4% and negative behaviour in the classroom had reduced by 10.1%.
“We were also excited to see that 12 months on from introducing PBS, general student wellbeing was up 16.6% and that the number of students flourishing increased by 8.1%,” he said.
Bloomfield said the mental health of tamariki was of great “interest and importance” to him, and provided some tips on looking after your younglings!
1. Find out what works for you
Bloomfield said it was important to know what your boundaries are, and take active steps to stay within them, both for your physical, and mental wellbeing.
”This programme is about mindfulness, teaching techniques that keep the stress levels manageable, but also actions you can undertake when you’re in a pressure situation, as they say in the programme ‘drop anchor’ and ground yourself again.”
But ultimately it’s about finding what works best for you, he said.
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”Wether that is meditation, yoga, or for others, and I am one of them its more often active – getting away going for a run or bike ride.”
“Over the years I’ve learned the absolute importance of looking after my physical and mental wellbeing if I want to be at my best each day.
I’ve always found physical activity and regular ‘downtime’ really important in helping me maintain resilience – and this was especially so during the pandemic.”
2. Spend some time in nature
“We know the benefits of spending time in the natural environment, getting out in to New Zealand’s beautiful bush,” he said.
Spending time outdoors can help with gaining perspective, and engaging with the natural world is important, he said.
3. Connecting with loved ones
Lastly, it is important for our wellbeing to connect with people that matter to us, friends, whānau and so on, he said.
Putting effort into those relationships can help keep us grounded, especially when the pressure is on.
One of the main things Bloomfield recommended for adults and children alike was gratitude.
There is good evidence that children who know how to be grateful for things are more positive, he said.
“One of the best things parents can do is model that, model gratitude for their children.”
Bloomfield said he would first point parents of struggling kids towards this programme, but there were also a number of online sites that could provide practical guidance on helping children regulate and manage their emotions well.