The JTM Blog

Find updates, news and features from JTM

Author: Sean Jones (page 1 of 5)

JTM’s Monthly Safeguarding Bulletin – December 2021

Topics for this month:

6 ways to feel good over Christmas

Not everyone enjoys Christmas. If you’re worried about the season, Childline have got some advice to help you feel better:

  1. Take a break when you can

Even if it’s just 5 minutes, take time away from people or things that stress you out to go for a walk, listen to music or distract yourself.

  1. Plan time after Christmas

Plan what you’d like to do to feel better after Christmas and think about things you could do that you’ll look forward to.

  1. Talk to people you care about

Send messages to the people you love and share how your Christmas is going.

  1. Let your feelings out

Whether it’s writing things down, getting creative or doing something to calm yourself down, it can help to let how you’re feeling out in a healthy way.

  1. Keep in touch with people you can’t see

Arrange a time when you can catch up, even if it’s only for a few minutes. It can help as well to write down things you’d like to tell them when you can see each other again.

  1. Get help when you need it

If you’re feeling overwhelmed or down, we’re here to support you. You can talk to a Childline counsellor any time over the holidays.

For further information please visit: https://www.childline.org.uk/

Drink driving: How to keep safe this Christmas

December for many of us, is a time to raise a glass and be merry. But before you head out and enjoy the festivities, are you clear on the rules around drink driving?

How much is too much?

Drinking under the influence of alcohol is a criminal offence. If you are found guilty of drink driving you could be fined, banned from driving, or even imprisoned.

Legally, the drink driving limit in most areas of the UK is a blood alcohol level up to 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100ml of blood (in Scotland, it’s 50 milligrams).1 But, there isn’t an exact number of drinks this equates to, so it’s always safest not to drink any alcohol at all.

Your blood alcohol concentration can be affected by many different things. These include your weight, sex, what you’ve eaten and how quickly your body processes alcohol, as well as how much you’ve had to drink and when. It can be very different for different people and can also change for the same person from one day to the next.

There’s also no way of knowing whether that one pint or glass of wine will put you over the limit. Rather than trying to guess, and put your life or someone else’s at risk, it’s best not to take that risk at all.

Dangers of drink driving

An estimated 7,800 people were killed or injured in drink driving accidents in the UK in 2019. But the dangers of drink driving don’t only start once you’re over the legal limit. Alcohol – at any level – will start to impair your driving ability, putting you and others at risk. It can be easy to think you’re still in control after ‘just the one’ – but sadly the data doesn’t reflect that. Studies show that even just a small amount of alcohol can start affecting our reaction times, judgement, and ability to drive. And this happens well below the legal drink-driving limit.

Alcohol can also give us a false sense of confidence and make us more likely to take risks. So, while you may never dream of getting behind the wheel after a drink when you’re sober, it only takes one drink to cloud your judgement and decide that ‘short drive home’ is ok after all. Staying completely alcohol-free when you’re driving really is the best and safest option.

Plan ahead

If you’ve got a festive dinner or Christmas party coming up, a little bit of planning can make life a lot easier, so you can relax and focus on enjoying a safe and fun time out.

If you know there’s an occasion where you might want to drink, put plans in place well before to get yourself and others home safely, whether that’s appointing someone else to drive or just leaving the car at home. If you’re planning to drive, resolve not to drink at all that night. Don’t be tempted to have one or two – as this may be enough to put yourself and someone else at risk.

Tips to get home safe

  • Decide on a designated driver to stay alcohol-free in your group of friends or family. If you have lots of fun events coming up with the same group, you could take it in turns.
  • If you’re driving, use it as a chance to try some different alcohol-free drinks on offer. From alcohol-free beers and wines to mocktails, there’s never been so much choice. Many bars and pubs offer free or discounted soft drinks for designated drivers too.
  • If you plan to take public transport, be sure of the bus or train schedule ahead of time.
  • Taxis and private hire vehicles are also a great way to ensure you get home safe. You must book a private hire vehicle in advance but it’s also a good idea to book a taxi in advance and have the number or booking app stored in your phone. And don’t forget to make sure your phone is charged before you step out. Alternatively, make your way to a private hire vehicle booking office or a taxi rank.
The morning after

If you’ve had a few drinks the previous night, don’t forget that alcohol can continue to affect you the morning after you’ve been drinking too, so you may well still be over the drink-drive limit.

It usually takes an average of about an hour for your body to clear one unit of alcohol once it’s been fully absorbed. But this can vary and there’s no way of telling for sure. Even if you feel fine, you could still be over the limit. The safest and best advice is to avoid alcohol completely the night before you have to drive.

Further advice and information visit: https://www.drinkaware.co.uk/

Mental Health First Aid

JTM’s Pastoral Coordinator, Janine, has been on a 2-day First Aid Mental Health course this month with GMLPF, to help her in her role and being the point of contact for staff and learners who are experiencing a mental health issue or emotional distress.

This interaction could range from having an initial conversation through to supporting the person to get the appropriate referral and specialist help.

Janine felt that some of the information from the training would also be valuable to share with all staff, learners and employers, to raise awareness of mental health first aid and how you can also help someone in a crisis.

Please see the attached slides for more information.

What is the hub of hope?

The Hub of Hope is the country’s first nationwide mental health database, which brings help and support together in one place. The app will help people to find much needed support using their phone’s location to find key services and organisations with their area.

The Hub of Hope is a completely free and confidential national mental health service.  You can also text HOPE to 85258 if you are experiencing a mental health crisis and need urgent support.

Hope is really for everyone

The services and support listed on the Hub of Hope are not only for when things become unbearable – a crisis point. They are also for those times when we notice we are starting to struggle, or when we need extra support as we start to emerge from a particularly difficult time.

The Hub of Hope also lists support and services for family members and friends to enable them to find help for themselves, as well as for the person they are supporting. We recognise that the wellbeing of each member of an interconnected family or community is dependent on the wellbeing of all its members.

Find more information by visiting: https://hubofhope.co.uk/

Phishing emails

What is phishing?   Phishing can be defined as untargeted, mass emails sent to many people asking for sensitive information (such as bank details) or encouraging them to visit a fake website. Criminals send phishing emails to millions of people, asking for sensitive information (like bank details), or containing links to bad websites. Some phishing emails may contain viruses disguised as harmless attachments, which are activated when opened.

Spotting a phishing email is becoming increasingly difficult, and even the most careful user can be tricked. Here are some tell-tale signs that could indicate a phishing attempt.

  • Is the email addressed to you by name, or does it refer to ‘valued customer’, or ‘friend’ or ‘colleague’? This can be a sign that the sender does not actually know you, and that it is part of a phishing scam.
  • Others will try and create official looking emails by including logos and graphics. Is the design (and quality) what you’d expect?
  • Does the email contain a veiled threat that asks you to act urgently? Be suspicious of words like ‘send these details within 24 hours’ or ‘you have been a victim of crime, click here immediately’.
  • Look at the sender’s name and email address. Does it sound legitimate, or is it trying to mimic someone you know? Some JTM users recently received phishing emails mentioning ‘jarvis-eu’ in the subject or wording of the email, which was an attempt by criminals to trick people into disclosing their account details.
  • Your bank (or any other official source) should never ask you to supply personal information in an email. If you need to check, call them directly.
  • If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. It’s most unlikely that someone will offer you designer trainers for £10, or codes to access films for free.

If you know that you have received a phishing email, simply delete it straightaway and don’t click on any attachments or the links it may contain.

Click here for more information on phishing

Christmas social media safety cards

Ineqe Safeguarding Group have put together several safety cards for the most popular social media platforms:

  • Snapchat
  • Discord
  • YouTube
  • Roblox
  • Instagram

Each safety card outlines how to set accounts to private via the privacy settings, how to block someone and steps on how to report.

Please view the safety cards that are attached to this bulletin and forward to anyone who may benefit from them.

Click here for the safety cards

Poppy Playtime

Poppy Playtime is a horror video game, involving an unnamed protagonist investigating a mystery in an abandoned toy factory. As the player, you roam around the factory and collect VHS tapes to solve the mystery of what happened.

You must solve puzzles while trying to survive the ‘vengeful toys’ left behind. The factory’s most popular toy Huggy Wuggy – a giant, horrifying blue creature with bulging eyes, wide red lips, and long limbs – actively follows you around as you try to complete the game. He appears in the dark unexpectedly to try and catch you. If you get caught, Huggy Wuggy bears his wide and sinister grin and eats you.

The game features frightening images and themes that are paired with child-friendly items. This may be especially upsetting to children who have not yet developed the resilience to deal with disturbing content.

Due to the popularity of the game, YouTubers are naturally devoting a lot of their content to it, bringing it to the attention of younger people who follow their channels.

There are multiple risks that can arise from children and young people being exposed to frightening content before they are prepared:

  • Added anxiety and stress – Children and young people are still growing and learning. They may not be at a level of emotional maturity that would be able to process frightening content, even if it is intentional. Horror games could hamper that growth by creating unnecessary anxiety and stress.
  • Intrusive thoughts – Everyone has the ‘thing that goes bump in the night.’ If children play this game or watch it, the Bogeyman could easily be replaced with characters like Huggy Wuggy. This could cause children to lose focus or sleep and could interrupt family rest cycles.
  • New fears – The manipulation of child-friendly items into threatening characters exploits the sense of security a child would feel around these things. They may suddenly be terrified of something that had never been a worry before.

You can read more about the content of Poppy Playtime here:

https://esafety-adviser.us4.list-manage.com/track/click?u=cbd59b76f0e1ad9db768db345&id=7463dbd318&e=5047aac6f5

Useful helplines over the Christmas period:

OrganisationWhat do they do?Telephone number(s)Website
NSPCCThe leading children’s charity in the UK, specialising in child protection and dedicated to protecting children today to prevent abuse tomorrow. We’re the only UK children’s charity with statutory powers, which means we can take action to safeguard children at risk of abuse.0808 800 5000https://www.nspcc.org.uk/
ChildlineChildline is a counselling service for children and young people0800 1111 https://www.childline.org.uk/
SamaritansSamaritans is a registered charity aimed at providing emotional support to anyone in emotional distress, struggling to cope, or at risk of suicide throughout Great Britain and Ireland, often through their telephone helpline.116 123https://www.samaritans.org/
ShoutThe UK’s first free, confidential, 24/7 text support service. It’s a place to go if you’re struggling to cope and need mental health support.Text 85258https://giveusashout.org/
MindMind provide advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem.0300 123 3393https://www.mind.org.uk/
No PanicNo Panic offers advice, support, recovery programs and help for people living with phobias, OCD and any other anxiety-based disorders.0300 7729844https://nopanic.org.uk/
Campaign against living miserablyCALM run a free and confidential helpline and webchat – open from 5pm to midnight every day, for anyone who needs to talk about life’s problems. They support those bereaved by suicide, through the Support After Suicide Partnership (SASP).0800 58 58 58https://www.thecalmzone.net/
Talk to FrankFind out everything you need to know about drugs, their effects and the law. Talk to Frank for facts, support and advice on drugs and alcohol.0300 123 6600https://www.talktofrank.com/
National DebtlineNational Debtline is a charity who give free and independent debt advice over the phone and online.0808 808 4000https://nationaldebtline.org/
ShelterFree emergency helpline is open 365 days a year to answer calls from anyone struggling with a housing issue or homelessness.0808 800 4444https://england.shelter.org.uk
RefugeYou can speak to a member of the National Domestic Abuse Helpline team at any time, day or night. The Helpline adviser will offer confidential, non-judgmental information and expert support.0808 2000 247https://www.refuge.org.uk/
National Rape Crisis HelplineFind a Rape Crisis Centre, get online emotional support, or access information and self-help tools.0808 802 9999https://rapecrisis.org.uk/
Cruse Bereavement CareUK’s largest bereavement charity, which provide free care and bereavement counselling to people suffering from grief.0808 808 1677https://www.cruse.org.uk/
The Silver Line – Helpline for older peopleThe Silver Line operates the only confidential, free helpline for older people across the UK that’s open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days of the year.0800 4 70 80 90https://www.thesilverline.org.uk/

JTM’s Monthly Safeguarding Bulletin – November 2021

Topics for this month:

Liverpool Women’s Hospital – Terrorist incident, 14th November 2021

Following the two confirmed terrorist incidents over the past month, (Friday 15th October which led to the death of MP Sir David Amess, and the Liverpool Women’s on 14th November) the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre (JTAC) have increased the national threat level from ‘Substantial’ to ‘Severe’. There is only one further threat level – critical – which means ‘an attack is highly likely in the near future’.

It can be a worrying time for everyone, but I would like to reiterate the support from the safeguarding team that is in place for those who need it whether it be yourselves as staff, or learners and employers.

Counter Terrorism Policing have launched a new national ‘Act Early’ safeguarding website on 18th November 2021.

Please visit the link and share it with learners, employers, family and friends to reinforce the message that Prevent is all about safeguarding. You may also find some of the advice, material and resources useful to incorporate into your internal Prevent training products or training sessions with learners and employers.

www.actearly.uk

Extremists using online gaming and Covid-19 conspiracies to recruit youngsters

Right-wing extremists are using Covid-19 controversies and online gaming as a way of recruiting young people, as new Home Office data shows half of the most serious cases of suspected radicalisation reported by schools and colleges now involve far-right activity.

Figures published by the Home Office show twice as many young people in education in England and Wales last year were thought to be at risk of radicalisation by the extreme right-wing, compared with those at risk from Islamic extremists.

The new figures from the government’s Prevent anti-extremism programme, covering 2020-21, show that 310 people were referred to Prevent by schools, colleges and universities because of far-right links. Just 157 were referred because of vulnerability to Islamic extremism.

While far-right extremism has been on the rise for several years, online apps and platforms were increasingly cropping up in Prevent referrals, including gaming platforms and chat apps such as Discord, as right-wing groups sought to reach young people.

Some groups during the pandemic conducted leafleting campaigns, where they would promote the narrative that Covid-19 is a hoax, that hospital wards are empty, and that you shouldn’t get the vaccine. The leaflets themselves are loaded with pseudo-scientific evidence, but at the same time contain information purporting that white people are going to be a minority in Britain, which plays into people’s fears.

Teachers have also reported that they’ve seen a rise in pupils, returning after home-schooling, expressing extremist views and conspiracy theories; of those teachers surveyed, 95% had heard racist views from pupils, 90% had encountered homophobia or conspiracy theories and nearly three-quarters had encountered extremist views on women or Islamophobic views.

Key results from the Home Office data

In the year ending 31 March 2021, there were 4,915 referrals to Prevent. This is a decrease of 22% compared to the previous year (6,287) and the lowest number of referrals received since comparable data are available (year ending March 2016). This decrease is likely to have been driven by the effects of public health restrictions that were in place throughout the year to control the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

The Police made the highest number of referrals (1,770; 36%), followed by the Education sector (1,221; 25%). The year ending 31 March 2021 saw the lowest proportion of referrals received from the Education sector since comparable data are available, likely due to the closure of schools and universities as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • As in previous years, where gender was specified (4,913), most referrals were of males (4,316; 88%).
  • Of the referrals where age of the individual was known (4,883), those aged 15 to 20 accounted for the largest proportion (1,398; 29%).
  • The number of referrals discussed at a Channel panel (1,333) and adopted as a Channel case (688) saw smaller reductions compared with the previous year, decreasing by 7% and 0.6% respectively.
  • Of the 688 Channel cases, the most common were cases referred due to concerns regarding Extreme Right-Wing radicalisation (317; 46%), followed by those with a mixed, unstable or unclear ideology (205; 30%) and concerns regarding Islamist radicalisation (154; 22%).

You can read the Home Office report in full here: https://tinyurl.com/3asez24a

Training links:

  • Side by Side Training – A Prevent resource with modules on
    • Radicalisation and Extremism
    • Staying Safe Online
    • What Can You Trust?
    • British Values

https://www.etflearners.org.uk/

  • ACT Training – Action Counters Terrorism training covers:
    • Introduction to Terrorism
    • Identifying Security Vulnerabilities
    • How to Identify and Respond to Suspicious Behaviour
    • How to Identify and Deal with a Suspicious Item
    • What to do in the Event of a Bomb Threat
    • How to Respond to a Firearms or Weapons attack
    • Summary and Supporting Materials

https://ct.protectuk.police.uk/?mode=select

Google image removal for young people

Google is rolling out the ability for children, young people and their parents to request to have pictures deleted from the company’s image search results.

The new privacy option was one of many changes the company announced in August in an effort to pre-emptively build in additional protections for users under the age of 18. Google’s other planned safeguards include making video uploads private by default and disabling and weeding out some ‘overly commercial’ YouTube children’s content, including unboxing videos.

Anyone under the age of 18 or their parent or guardian can ask Google to remove an image from appearing in search results by filling out a request form. You’ll need to specify that you’d like Google to remove ‘Imagery of an individual currently under the age of 18’ and provide some personal information, the image URLs and search queries that would surface the results.

There will be many reasons why a young person might want an image to be removed from Google search results, e.g., embarrassing photos from when they were younger, perhaps uploaded by a parent. However, there are limitations to the service; currently, the removal is made from search results within the UK, not the rest of the world. For example, if someone has their image removed and someone tries to search on Google.co.uk, they won’t be able to find it. But if someone repeated the search on Google.com, the image will still be there. It isn’t a solution, but it can make the image harder to find.

The online image removal request form can be found here: https://support.google.com/websearch/troubleshooter/9685456#ts=2889054%2C2889099

Staying safe online – Top tips!

We have attached an infographic from the National Cyber Security Centre covering the following information on passwords:

Alcohol Awareness Month – November

With many of us drinking more during the pandemic, for many different reasons, our way of living and relationships at home, with friends and at work can become even tougher. By taking control of our drinking, we can create happier relationships, as well as an improved health and wellbeing.

The UK’s Chief Medical Officer recommends not drinking more than 14 units a week; that means about six pints of lager or a bottle and a half of wine.

If you have a drink, enjoy each drink slowly and remember to pace yourself and keep in mind that you do not have to join in every time someone else decides to drink. It can help to only drink the drinks you really enjoy and skip the ones you are drinking for the sake of it. And it is worth bearing in mind that the drinks you pour at home are often larger than those served in pubs.

Keeping a drinking diary each week will help you understand your drinking pattern, so you can work out what your happy with and what you are not. Download the free ‘Try Dry’ app to help you keep track.

Not everyone drinks alcohol, and it is fine to say no. It is surprising how many people think it is ‘OK’ to pressure other people to drink – it is not!

Having a few alcohol-free days each week is a good way to cut down and give your body a rest, boost your immune system and improve your mental health and wellbeing. Consider taking an extended break like having a Dry January or another dry month.

Also, there are alcohol-free beers, ciders, wines which have improved so much in recent years that they are winning awards in place of their full-strength competitors. Lots of supermarkets now have alcohol-free sections and alternatives.

Alcohol links to domestic violence

Alcohol alone is not a cause of domestic abuse and is never an excuse. There are, however, many ways in which alcohol and domestic abuse are related. Domestic abuse affects millions of people in the UK. It affects not just the main target of the abuse but also other family members.

The COVID-19 pandemic seen a rise in domestic abuse taking place, resulting in some drinking more heavily, which could have made the problem worse.

Drinking and domestic abuse often occur at the same time

Many abuse incidents occur when one or both people involved has been drinking, and alcohol is more commonly involved in more aggressive incidents. It is not just being intoxicated that can increase risk; lack of access to alcohol can make someone irritable or angry which can, in turn, create a trigger point.

When alcohol is involved, abuse can become more severe

Alcohol can affect our self-control and decision-making and can reduce our ability to resolve conflict. Global evidence shows that alcohol when over consumed can increase the severity of a violent incident.

Home Office analysis of 33 partner domestic cases in 2019-2020 found that 20 of these involved alcohol substance use.

Controlling access to alcohol can become part of the abuse

A perpetrator may exert control over another person by withholding alcohol from them or preventing them from buying it. For someone who is dependent on alcohol, this could be extremely distressing and even dangerous, if they experience withdrawal symptoms.

People who experience domestic abuse may drink to try to cope

Living with domestic abuse can be extremely frightening, distressing, or exhausting. This can cause some people to drink alcohol to try to cope with the physical and mental health impacts of domestic abuse. Research shows that women who experience extensive physical and sexual violence are more than twice as likely to have a problem with alcohol than those with little or no experience of violence and abuse.

UK Figures state –

22% of drinkers have drunk to try to cope with relationship problems in the past six months.

20% of drinkers have drunk because of an argument with a family member or partner

19% have struggled to socialise without alcohol

For more information or advice please visit the website below

https://alcoholchange.org.uk/help-and-support/cut-down/tips-for-cutting-down

Refuge Charity – Domestic Violence Help

Refuge supports women and children who experience all forms of violence and abuse, including domestic violence, sexual violence, female genital mutilation, forced marriage, so-called ‘honour’-based violence, and human trafficking and modern slavery.

Refuge tailor their support to suit individual needs and they run a range of services you can access, including refuges, community-based projects, culturally specific services, services for children and support for women going through the criminal justice system.

Freephone 24-Hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline: 0808 2000 247

or visit www.nationaldahelpline.org.uk  (access live chat Mon-Fri 3-10pm)

Support for male abuse victims

Everybody has the right to a life free from violence. Refuge professional staff are highly trained to work with everyone experiencing domestic abuse, including heterosexual, gay, bisexual and transgender men. No-one deserves to be abused by the person they love. Everyone has the right to be respected and live in safety.

It is important to remember that you are not alone, the abuse is not your fault and there are people who can help you. Refuge runs a number of outreach and independent advocacy services for male victims of domestic violence across the country.

You can also call the Men’s Advice Line on 0808 801 0327 for specialist support.

For more information please visit: https://www.refuge.org.uk/get-help-now/help-for-men/

JTM’s Monthly Safeguarding Bulletin – October 2021

Topics for this month:

Dyslexia Awareness Month – October 2021

Dyslexia Awareness month is an annual event aimed to further develop understanding and raise awareness about dyslexia; what it means, what it is and what can be done to support people who have dyslexia.

What is Dyslexia?

When commemorating Dyslexia Awareness, it is essential to discuss what dyslexia is.

Dyslexia is a very common difficulty that some people face when reading text or words. Intelligence is not impacted, so is therefore not described as a learning disability but as a specific learning difficulty (SpLD). The main disruption that dyslexia causes is difficulty with phonological awareness, which is our ability to understand sounds and letters.

Each person with dyslexia is different. For some people, it may just slow them down when reading and writing to process and comprehend the information; for others, dyslexia can cause more serious visual interruptions when reading, where words and letters appear blurred.

A person with dyslexia might:

  • read and write very slowly
  • have poor or inconsistent spelling
  • confuse the order of letters in words
  • put letters the wrong way round (such as writing “b” instead of “d”)
  • find it hard to carry out a sequence of directions
  • struggle with planning and organisation
  • understand information when told verbally but have difficulty with information that is written down.

Dyslexia affects an estimated 10% of the UK population, it is very important to fully understand what it is. This is especially with education and learning, where reading and writing are essential parts of learning.

What can be done to support people with dyslexia?

As well as showing awareness and a thorough understanding of what dyslexia is, it is important to understand how to help those who might struggle with it.

Of course, you should always be patient with those who struggle to read and always encourage them. Whilst it may not always be obvious, learning to read or practising reading can be a very stressful process for dyslexic people. So, bear this in mind and offer to help wherever you can and allow extra time and practice with repetition when needed.

Some organisations carry on their dyslexia awareness work and events as part of Dyslexia Awareness Month throughout October. This is because it gives them even more time to spread awareness and get people on board with campaigns.

Dyslexia Awareness Month was first adopted by -The International Dyslexia Association in 2002. Since then, each year organisations, charities, campaigners, and schools/Colleges take part in a wide range of activities to raise awareness.

Here are some ideas for how you can get involved:

  • Research what dyslexia means. This could include reading articles and blog, posts to see what people say about their first-hand experiences of dyslexia.
  • Set up a dyslexia awareness group in your workplace/ educational establishment. This could include organising meetings/drop-in sessions where people can talk about what they know and understand about dyslexia.
  • Educators could also set a research task, to find out lots of information about this learning difficulty to make their own Dyslexia Awareness Month facts sheet.
  • Some people with dyslexia struggle with self-confidence, so running classes and workshops revolving around team building and self-confidence is another good way to celebrate Dyslexia Awareness Month.
  • Whether you focus on Dyslexia Awareness Day, Dyslexia Awareness Week or Dyslexia Awareness Month, this is a great way for you to promote awareness and help every person feel supported.

10 Dyslexia awareness month facts:

  1. 50% of people with dyslexia are left-handed, whereas only 11% of the entire UK population are left-handed.
  2. The most common cause of dyslexia is genetics and the way the brain neurologically develops. This means that dyslexia often runs in families.
  3. Dyslexia can also be acquired later in life, due to a brain injury from trauma or disease.
  4. Scientists have found that the Dyslexic brain is typically larger than non-dyslexic brains.
  5. Studies have also shown Dyslexic people to excel in areas such as creative thinking and are more likely to be creative individuals.
  6. It is hard to get an exact number of how many people are dyslexic in the U.K., but organisations such as the British Dyslexia Association estimate that between 7 million and 16 million people have SpLD.
  7. In order to be diagnosed with Dyslexia, a student must receive a comprehensive assessment of their skills and abilities by a qualified educational psychologist.
  8. It is a common myth that Dyslexic people read words or letters backwards. This is in fact not always the case, although writing letters backwards is quite common when learning to read and write.
  9. Britain’s favourite foodie, Jamie Oliver, is dyslexic. Rather than seeing this as a negative, Jamie is proud of his dyslexia. He believes this enables him to see the world from a different perspective. Dyslexia has not held him back, and you don’t have to look far to see the evidence. As of 2021, he has a net worth of an estimated £230 million.
  10. Other famous figures that identify as dyslexic include Jennifer Aniston, Keira Knightly and Noel Gallagher. Historical figures and famous artists such as Leonardo da Vinci and Pablo Picasso were also Dyslexic.

For more information on dyslexia please visit the link: https://www.bdadyslexia.org.uk/

World Menopause Month

The menopause is a natural stage of life. It usually happens between 45 and 55 years of age but it can also happen earlier or later in someone’s life. Women going through the menopause are now the fastest growing demographic in the workplace. It’s more important than ever for employers to have a good understanding of the menopause and how they can support colleagues.

If you or a loved one are experiencing menopause, you may have questions and not know

where to look for the answers. We have attached a support sheet with recommend resources that are supported by UK menopause specialists and in line with clinical guidance from the NHS, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), and the British Menopause Society.

The purpose of this guide is to provide you with a list of useful, up-to-date and free resources

to help you through your menopause journey. It also includes tips on how to make the most of

an appointment to discuss menopause and your symptoms with your GP.

Dealing with stress

If you are stressed, whether by your job or something more personal, the first step to feeling better is to identify the cause. The most unhelpful thing you can do is turn to something unhealthy to help you cope, such as smoking or drinking. Not taking control of the situation and doing nothing will often only make your problems worse.

Here are some stress-busting suggestions:

Be active

Exercise won’t make your stress disappear, but it will reduce some of the emotional intensity that you are feeling. It will help to clear your thoughts and let you deal with your problems more calmly.

Take control

There is a solution to any problem, if you remain passive, thinking, ‘I can’t do anything about my problem’, your stress will get worse.

Often the feeling of loss of control is one of the main causes of stress and lack of wellbeing.

The act of taking control is in itself empowering, and it is a crucial part of finding a solution that satisfies you and not someone else.

Connect with people

A good support network of colleagues, friends and family can help ease your work and life troubles and help you see things in a different way.

If you do not connect with people, you won’t have support to turn to when you need help.

Talking things through with a family member or friend will also help you find solutions to your problems and worries.

Have some ‘me time’

Here in the UK, we work the longest hours in Europe, meaning we often do not spend enough time doing things we really enjoy.

We all need to take some time for socialising, relaxation, or exercise, and setting aside time each week for some quality “me time” away from work.

By earmarking those days, it means you won’t be tempted to work overtime.

Challenge yourself

Setting yourself goals and challenges, whether at work or outside, such as learning a new language or a new sport, helps build confidence. This will help you deal with stress.

By continuing to learn, it has been proven in studies you become more emotionally resilient as a person. It arms you with knowledge and makes you want to do things rather than be passive.

Avoid unhealthy habits

Do not rely on alcohol, smoking and caffeine as your ways of coping.

When this is turned to it can been seen as avoidance behaviour and not wanting to talk about and deal with how you feel. Always look to seek support where possible from your social circle

In the long term, these things won’t solve your problems. They will generally just create new ones.

It might provide temporary relief, but it won’t make the problems disappear. You need to tackle the cause of your stress as soon as you can before it escalates.

Help other people

Evidence suggests that people who help others, through activities such as volunteering or community work, become more resilient and have greater integrity.

Helping people who are often in situations worse than yours will help you put your problems into perspective. The more you give, the happy you feel.

If you don’t have time to volunteer, try to do someone a favour every day. It can be something as small as helping someone cross the road.

Work smarter, not harder

Working smarter means prioritising your work, concentrating on the tasks that will make a real difference. Leave the least important tasks to last. Accept that your in-tray and to do’s list will always be full, don’t expect it to be empty at the end of the day.

Try to be positive

Look for the positives in life, and things for which you are grateful.

People don’t always appreciate what they have, try to be glass half full instead of glass half empty.

Try writing down things that went well, or for which you are glad you have in your life, at the end of the day, this can often help you stay more positive and help to reduce stress.

For more information or advice and tools on how you can reduce stress please use the link below.

https://www.nhs.uk/mental-health/self-help/guides-tools-and-activities/tips-to-reduce-stress/

Staying safe online – Top tips!

We have attached an infographic from the National Cyber Security Centre covering the following information:

  • Who is behind cyber-attacks?
  • Defend against phishing attacks
  • Secure your devices
  • Use strong passwords
  • Reporting incidents

What is Squid Game?

Squid Game is a South Korean television series streaming on Netflix. The plot centres on a group of adult debtors, thieves, and gamblers competing against each other in a series of childhood games and challenges for a grand cash prize. However, there is a dark twist to these seemingly innocent games – losing competitors are violently killed off in ways that grow more twisted as the games grow more intense.

Since its release in September 2021, Squid Game has become number one across 90 different countries in Netflix’s ranking of most watched TV shows. It has been number one in the UK for thirteen consecutive days since its release.

Given the popularity, it’s no surprise to see the challenges being acted out everywhere: in school, TikTok memes and challenges, Roblox games etc., so even if children aren’t watching the series on Netflix, they will have heard about it from others or online.

Harmful Content in the Show

Currently, Squid Game has a rating of 15+ as the visual content includes high levels of gore, death, violence, and physical assault. It also has graphic depictions of suicide, murder, and sexual assault.

Children and young people are likely to know about Squid Game via word of mouth and social media/gaming platforms. They may be unaware of the extent of gore, death, and violence the show contains. It also focuses on adult themes (such as gambling, debt, and sex) that are not appropriate for younger viewers. For young people who live with mental health issues, they may be triggered by some of the content.

The Risks of Recreation

Due to the overwhelming popularity of Squid Game and its challenge-based plot, many of the themes within the show have become popular on social media platforms. Depictions of these games have started to become popular as people film themselves recreating them – without the murderous outcome.

Parents and carers should be aware that video content from this show is found extensively on TikTok, which could also increase interest in watching the show. Remember: even if you restrict the young person in your care from watching Squid Game, they may be able to access content on other platforms.

Online Games – Fraud on the Rise

Players of online video games such as Roblox, Fortnite and Fifa are being warned to watch out for scammers, amid concerns that gangs are targeting the platforms. Multiplayer games boomed during the pandemic lockdowns as people turned to socialising in virtual spaces.

One of the UK’s biggest banks, Lloyds, is so concerned about how games are being used that it will launch a warning code for players, and a character to go with it.

Its research found that a fifth of gamers had either been a victim of a gaming-related scam, or knew someone who had, but less than a third said they knew how to spot one. The research also found that the average player spent 14 hours a week onscreen, and that gamers were spending more time, and money, in-play than before.

The scams vary in complexity. Lloyds said gaming console fraud, where scammers trick victims into buying machines that they never receive, were among the most common types of purchase scams reported by its customers.

One common crime involves fraudsters tricking people into downloading malware on to their device, often through advertising add-ons to a game at a cheaper price than the official channels are charging.

Phishing exercises, where players are persuaded to give away valuable personal details, are also common, using emails and in-game chats, while some gangs are reportedly using the platforms to recruit money mules – bank customers who agree to have money paid into their accounts.

The Lloyds Band warning code – a set of guidelines to help gamers protect themselves – will urge people to “Shield”: an acronym for actions including screening chats with strangers and hiding personal details.

The gaming companies’ UK trade association, Ukie, said the code would help players to be on their guard.

Three years ago, Action Fraud, the body which collects reports of scams, warned that criminals were targeting players of Fortnite. In most cases, gamers had seen an advert on a social media site saying that if they followed a link and submitted some information they would get free V-Bucks, Fortnite’s in-game currency. The details were used to log in to the game and run up charges, or sell on the accounts to other players. On average, players had lost £146 each through the scams.

More details about the Lloyd’s Bank code can be found here: https://www.askaboutgames.com/shield-against-scams

JTM’s Monthly Safeguarding Bulletin – September 2021

Topics for this month:

World Mental Health Day – 10th October 2021

This year’s World Mental Health Day, on the 10th October comes at a time when our daily lives have changed considerably as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The past months have brought many challenges: for health-care workers providing care in very difficult circumstances, for those adapting to working or learning from home, with little contact with family and friends and the outside world, anxious about the future; and for workers whose livelihoods are threatened, for the vast number of people caught in poverty or in fragile humanitarian settings with extremely limited protection from COVID-19; and for people with mental health conditions, many experiencing even greater social isolation than before. And this is to say nothing of managing the grief of losing a loved one, sometimes without being able to say goodbye.

Given past experience of emergencies, it is expected that the need for mental health and psychosocial support will substantially increase in the coming months and years. Investment in mental health programmes at the national and international levels, which have already suffered from years of chronic underfunding, is now more important than it has ever been.

This is why the goal of this year’s World Mental Health Day campaign is increased investment in mental health.  As mental health is one of the most neglected areas of public health. Close to 1 billion people are living with a mental disorder, 3 million people die every year and one person worldwide dies every 40 seconds by suicide. And now, billions of people around the world have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, which is having a further impact on people’s mental health.

An opportunity to commit

The World Mental Health Day campaign will offer opportunities, primarily online given the continuing pandemic, for all of us to do something life-affirming: as individuals, to take concrete actions in support of our own mental health, and to support friends and family who are struggling; as employers, to take steps towards putting in place employee wellness programmes; as governments, to commit to establishing or scaling-up mental health services; and to what more can and must be done to make mental health care a reality for everyone. On the 10th October, the World Health Organization will for the first time ever, host a global online advocacy event on mental health.

During the event, which will be streamed on WHO’s social media channels, viewers will be able to:

  • learn how WHO, together with partners help improve the mental health of people in countries throughout the world.
  • hear from national and international leaders about why they are making mental health a priority.
  • hear first-hand why internationally renowned artists have become mental health advocates and listen to their advice for those who are struggling; and
  • listen to critically acclaimed musicians perform some of their most popular music.

For more information and to get involved please visit

https://www.who.int

What is mental health?

We all have mental health, just like we all have physical health. Sometimes we feel well, and sometimes we don’t. Mental health is complicated because it’s about how we think, feel and act, and this is always changing.

When our mental health is good, we enjoy being around other people and we feel able to take on challenges and new experiences. But when our mental health is not so good, we can find it much harder to cope.

Remember, if you’re struggling with how you think, feel or act, you are not alone, and things can get better. You deserve all the help and support you need to feel confident and comfortable being yourself so that you can enjoy life.

What is a mental health problem?

We all have good days and bad days, but when negative thoughts and feelings start to affect your daily life and stop you doing the things you enjoy, or your ability to feel ok, this means you probably need some support with your mental health.

For example, nearly everyone gets anxious before an exam, a job interview or a first date. But if we feel anxious all the time, constantly worrying that the worst could happen, and this stops us sleeping well or meeting up with friends, we might benefit from some help.

What causes mental health problems?

There are lots of reasons why we might start struggling with our mental health. These can include:

  • difficult things going on in your life
  • life experiences, such as trauma, violence or abuse
  • physical health problems
  • pressure at school, work, or about money
  • difficult relationships with partners, family or friends
  • family history of mental health problems

Often it isn’t just one of these things and sometimes there is no obvious cause. Whatever the reasons you might be struggling it’s important to remember that it isn’t your fault and that things can get better.

Life affects us all differently. No one is the same. That’s why the right mental health support will look different to different people. What works for one person might be not work the same for you, and that’s ok

How do I know when to get help with my mental health?

Most of us will struggle with our mental health at some point in our lives, just like we all get sick once in a while. If you notice a negative change in how you’re feeling, or you find yourself doing things that worry you, speak to someone you trust.

Trust your instincts – you know if something is up. Don’t wait for things to get really bad before reaching out. The earlier you get help, the more likely it is that you can stop your problem getting worse

Here are some signs to look out for:

  • feeling hopeless – struggling to see the positives in life, or wishing you didn’t exist
  • getting into lots of arguments or fights
  • feeling sad all the time
  • feeling angry all the time
  • feeling anxious all the time
  • numbness – not feeling any emotions at all
  • extreme highs and lows, or mood swings
  • feeling worthless
  • changes to your eating patterns – starving yourself, over-eating, making yourself sick
  • hearing voices or seeing things that aren’t there
  • hurting yourself on purpose
  • keeping away from friends and family
  • relying heavily on alcohol, drugs or sex
  • obsessive behaviour or thoughts – feeling there is something you have to do/think about all the time or something bad will happen
  • experiencing nightmares, flashbacks or upsetting thoughts
  • obsessing about how you look
  • constant unwanted thoughts

If you recognise any of these signs, or anything else that seems out of the ordinary, or not ‘normal’ for you, then it is important to reach out for help. This doesn’t mean that you necessarily have a mental health problem, but it’s likely that some support will help you on your journey to feeling your best.

For more information please visit: https://www.youngminds.org.uk/young-person/coping-with-life/what-is-mental-health/

How to speak to your GP about mental health

It can be really scary talking to your doctor about mental health for the first time, but there’s no need to be scared – it’s their job to help.

Your GP can help you out with things like:

  • letting you know what support is available to you through the NHS or private services
  • suggesting different types of treatment like counselling and therapy, or medication
  • offering regular check-ups to see how you’re doing
  • finding local support groups for your mental health
  • explaining what the next steps are in getting you support

Visit the following link for guidance on: preparing for your appointment with your GP; what to do if you’re not happy with the result of your appointment; information on whether your doctor will tell your parents/carers what you tell them; questions to ask your GP; and your rights and accessibility.

https://www.youngminds.org.uk/young-person/your-guide-to-support/how-to-speak-to-your-gp/

Mental health support – Helplines and services

YoungMinds Textline

  • Text YM to 85258
  • Provides free, 24/7 text support for young people across the UK experiencing a mental health crisis.
  • All texts are answered by trained volunteers, with support from experienced clinical supervisors.
  • Texts are free from EE, O2, Vodafone, 3, Virgin Mobile, BT Mobile, GiffGaff, Tesco Mobile and Telecom Plus.
  • Texts can be anonymous, but if the volunteer believes you are at immediate risk of harm, they may share your details with people who can provide support.
  • Opening times: 24/7
  • Website: https://www.youngminds.org.uk/young-person/youngminds-textline/

The Mix

  • Offers support to anyone under 25 about anything that’s troubling them.
  • Email support available via their online contact form.
  • Free 1-2-1 webchat service available.
  • Free short-term counselling service available.
  • Opening times: 4pm – 11pm, seven days a week
  • Tel: 0808 808 4994
  • Website: https://www.themix.org.uk/

Childline

  • If you’re under 19 you can confidentially call, chat online or email about any problem big or small.
  • Sign up for a free Childline locker (real name or email address not needed) to use their free 1-2-1 counsellor chat and email support service.
  • Can provide a BSL interpreter if you are deaf or hearing-impaired.
  • Hosts online message boards where you can share your experiences, have fun and get support from other young people in similar situations.
  • Opening times: 9am – midnight, 365 days a year
  • Tel: 0800 11 11
  • Website: https://www.childline.org.uk/

Samaritans

Social media and mental health

Being connected is a big part of our lives. But if you’re seeing stuff online which makes you feel angry, sad, worried, stressed, or annoyed, this can build up and start having a negative impact on your life.

For example, you might start worrying more about how you look or what you’re missing out on.

If you ever feel overwhelmed by the online world, unable to switch off, or find it difficult to cope, you’re not alone. We all struggle to keep our online world positive sometimes.

Top tech tips and advice from an O2 Guru

Managing your time

Apps like Facebook, Instagram and YouTube make it easy to track your time online, whether you’re on iOS or Android.

  • For Facebook, go to More > Settings and privacy > Your time on Facebook.
  • For Instagram, go to Your account > More > Settings and your activity.

You can set daily reminders telling you how long you’ve been using an app. On Facebook for example, go to Your time on Facebook > Set daily reminder. Then set your ideal daily usage.

Apps like ‘Hold’ are handy, especially if you’re trying to focus on studying. Hold rewards you for putting your phone down. You get ‘pocket points’ which can be exchanged for coffee vouchers and cinema tickets.

There are many other apps out there that help you stay off your phone, but don’t reward you, like ‘Moment’, ‘Stay Focused’ and ‘OFFTIME’.

Apps can help you relax

Meditation apps like ‘Calm’ have stories that can help you get to sleep, as well as daily breathing exercises that help you relax. Calm even has masterclasses taught by world-renowned experts.

Sleep affects your mood

If you’d like to switch off the blue light your screen emits at night, some phones have night mode.

iOS:

  • Go to Settings > Control Centre > Night Shift
  • Older iPhones have shortcuts to Night Shift if you swipe up from the bottom of the screen. The shortcut on newer iPhones appears if you drag down from the top right of the screen.

Android:

  • Android devices often have an ‘eye comfort’ mode. This setting can be found by dragging your finger down from the top of the screen and tapping ‘eye comfort’. If you press and hold this option, you’ll also find a convenient schedule option to save you more work.
  • When you need to unwind, you may find that something simple like trying an audiobook rather than reading on your phone may help. Apps like Audible come with a 30-day free trial.

For more information please visit: https://www.youngminds.org.uk/young-person/coping-with-life/social-media-and-mental-health/

Understanding young minds – Free course

Virtual College offer free courses, one of which is ‘Understanding Young Minds’ – ‘Talking to your Children about Emotional Resilience and Self-Harm’. The course handles the subject of teenage self-harm and parental ways to support your children, in a sensitive and informational way.

Virtual College have worked in partnership with SelfharmUK to create a free online course designed to help parents talk about the issue of self-harm with their children.

Thousands of children and young people in the UK are thought to be impacted by self-harm each year. Spotting the signs can be difficult, and approaching the subject with your children can be an uncomfortable experience.

This online course, ‘Talking to your children about emotional resilience and self-harm’, has been designed to provide you with a basic awareness of the subject to help you approach your children with confidence about the issue.

https://www.virtual-college.co.uk/courses/safeguarding/understanding-young-minds

Please note, at the time when this bulletin was issued, the above course was free of charge on the VC website.

Netflix age ratings

Netflix is hugely popular across all ages, but there have been concerns in relation to age ratings and the type of content that is recommended to viewers. Like many other services, Netflix uses algorithms to determine what you might like to watch based on viewing history, what you have liked etc.

Since last year, Netflix has been working with the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) and 100% of the content on Netflix is now age-rated to BBFC classification standards. It is the first UK streaming service to accomplish this.

For more information on how to set up a child account and choose maturity rating, please visit: https://help.netflix.com/en/node/264

Age appropriate design code

The Age Appropriate Design Code (sometimes referred to as The Children’s Code) is a new code of practice that sets out standards of age-appropriate design for “information society services” that are likely to be accessed by children. In other words, it’s new requirements for any companies that offer services online that are likely to be accessed by children.

The Code itself contains 15 standards that any online services must adhere to and covers areas such as privacy, transparency, and data sharing. You can find the full list of standards below. It first came into force in September 2020, but companies were given a 12-month transition period to comply, which ended on 2nd September 2021.

Why Has the Code Been Created?

From playing games on parents’ phones and watching cartoons on YouTube, to getting their own devices and joining social media, children and young people are using the online world every day. However, the internet wasn’t created with safeguarding children in mind and nor were any previous rules and regulations that the companies who operate online must follow. This is especially important now due to personal data protection.

As adults, we hopefully have more understanding of what we’re agreeing to online. For example, we might

understand what we’re signing up to when we agree to data usage pop-ups, whilst children might not. Or when we allow an app to use geolocation, we understand the risks behind location sharing, where children may just see the novelty in sharing this information.

These new standards are about making the digital space where children learn, play and socialise a safer place to be.

The Code comes from the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), who are the UK’s independent body that upholds information rights. They are responsible for legislation such as the Data Protection Act, GDPR, and Freedom of Information Act. This new code comes under their remit due to its relevancy to information rights, data protection and privacy of electronic communications.

The code applies to companies that fall under the bracket of information society services. Simply put, this is any business that provides a service online in exchange for money. Examples of these types of services are apps, search engines, social media platforms and online games. This means apps and websites such as YouTube, Facebook, and Google will all have to adhere to the new standards. Even if the service isn’t necessarily aimed at children, the code must be implemented if it can be accessed by children under 18.

What Changes Will I See?

There have been changes across thousands of apps and websites throughout the last 12 months, some more noticeable than others. Changes will have included:

  • Checking the age of the people who visit the website, download an app, or play the game.
  • Switching off geolocation services by default for users under 18.
  • Prohibiting nudge techniques to encourage children to enter more personal data.
  • Providing the highest level of privacy by default.
  • Greater efforts to protect the privacy and security of children online.

For more information visit: https://ineqe.com/2021/09/16/age-appropriate-design/

Online safety booklet

Attached with this bulletin is a guide to parental controls, produced by Knowsley CLCs.  The guide will help to set up parental controls to provide your child with a safer online environment. Parental controls can help to protect your child from seeing something that they shouldn’t – although it is important to emphasise that no system is effective all of the time so it is important to engage with your child and talk to them about their online life regularly.

The content includes:

  • Operating Systems
  • Home Internet
  • Consoles
  • Social Media
  • TV/Streaming
  • Search Engines
  • Mobile Devices
  • Smart Devices
  • Further Advice

JTM’s Monthly Safeguarding Bulletin – August 2021

Topics for this month:

How to look after your mental health with exercise:

There are many reasons why physical activity is good for your body – having a healthy heart and improving your joints and bones are just two, but did you know that physical activity is also beneficial for your mental health and wellbeing?

We need to change the way we view physical activity in the UK in order not to see it as something we ‘have to do’, ‘should do’ or ‘ought to do’ for our health, but as something that we do because we personally value its positive benefits to our wellbeing.

As part of the Mental Health Foundation’s work to promote better mental health, they have produced the pocket guide attached, to show the positive impact that physical activity can have on your own mental wellbeing, including some tips and suggestions to help you get started.

Being active doesn’t have to mean doing sport or going to the gym. There are lots of ways to be active; find the one that works for you!

Click here for the guide

Five ways to wellbeing:

The Mind charity have developed 5 ways to wellbeing which include

  • Take notice
  • Connect
  • Give
  • Keep learning
  • Be active

The Mind charity have developed a tool for you to use when following the 5 steps, in order to take some time to reflect throughout your day – download the PDF today and start working towards your 5 ways to wellbeing!

No panic

No Panic is a registered charity that helps and supports those living with panic attacks, phobias, obsessive compulsive disorders, and other related anxiety disorders. No Panic also provides support for the carers of people who suffer from anxiety disorders.

No Panic believes each and every one of us will have a dip in our mental health at different times throughout our lives. Mental ill-health knows no class, gender, age or economic boundaries and can affect any one of us at any time. COVID-19 is further exacerbating this already alarming crisis.

No Panic provides crucial support that fills the gaps left by statutory services. Quite often people who contact No Panic have been waiting a long time for therapy or have been refused help as they do not fit the mandatory service criteria. No Panic offers support that can prevent certain situations from a reaching crisis point. No Panic have the insight to know that no one treatment will work for an individual. Enabling choice is paramount in helping people to discover their own potential which educates them on how to personally manage their mental health.

No Panic’s guiding philosophy is that people can and do recover from mental health issues (however severe they may be) and can go on to live lives of their own choosing if they are provided with tailored made needs. No Panic’s recovery programs use layperson Cognitive Behaviour Therapy and anxiety management as their base. Whilst no therapy guarantees success, this method has at the present time, the highest success rate.

According to the UK Mental Health Foundation:

  • One in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem in any given year.
  • In the UK, 70 million days are lost from work each year due to mental ill health (i.e., anxiety, depression, and stress related conditions) making it the leading cause of sickness absence.
  • 10% of children and young people have a clinically diagnosable mental health problem yet 70% of children and adolescents who experience mental health problems do not receive intervention at a sufficiently early age.

All of the services are provided over the telephone or internet which provide enormous flexibility, comfort, and confidentiality to those we support. For more information you can access – info@nopanic.org.uk and there is also a free service helpline number 0300 772 9844 (10am-10pm) 7 days a week for free advice involving toolkits, panic attack and anxiety disorder resources, coping/breathing techniques, and other information to help. (Additional charges may occur for counselling dependant on age and services required).

Online safety:

WhatsApp disappearing images

WhatsApp have now released their ‘View Once’ photos and videos function. If the “1” icon is chosen before you send a photo or video, it will vanish after being viewed once, much like Snapchat.

The image or video being sent will disappear in the chat if the ‘View Once’ option has been selected before it was sent. As with their disappearing messages feature, the image or video can still be saved by another user before it disappears by taking a screenshot or screen recording. Users are prompted about this, the first time they send an image/video using the feature.

By introducing this feature, WhatsApp are claiming to give users “more control” over images and videos they’re sharing

What are the safeguarding risks?

  • Users can still screenshot images and screen record videos. The sender won’t be alerted. Screenshots of images or videos can be used by a bully or an abuser to control, manipulate, or blackmail the original sender
  • Images can also be captured in other ways, such as through a second camera device
  • Just because an image or video disappears doesn’t mean the effect of sharing does. This feature could be used to spread inappropriate or harmful content without a user’s consent
  • The ‘view it once’ justification is often used by offenders to convince vulnerable children to share images ‘because they will disappear’ 
  • This feature can provide an illusion of safety for young people sharing images or videos that they believe will completely disappear, in group chats, friendship groups, or relationships

YouTube shorts

Ever since TikTok surged into popularity, especially with children and young people, every other social media giant has attempted to answer the accessible, trendy format with new features on their existing platforms. Instagram introduced Reels, Snapchat created Spotlight, and now video hosting platform YouTube is entering the mix with Shorts.

YouTube Shorts is a new feature within the YouTube app that allows users to create short videos (lasting no longer than 60 seconds) on their phones. The content of these videos can be anything. Current trends include exercise tips, dance challenges, and funny pet videos.

YouTube is aiming to make Shorts a feature that will bring overnight fame to users. There are already stories of creators increasing their following using the feature, which suggests YouTube’s algorithms are benefiting those creators. Incentives like this make Shorts more appealing to creators of all ages, who may feel they will have a better chance of being an influencer on a newer platform.

Users can choose from three options when uploading a short to YouTube: Public, Unlisted, and Private. Each refers to the viewership allowances on a particular short.

Public means anyone can see your video.

Unlisted means the video can be seen and shared by anyone with a link.

Private means only those invited by the user can view the video.

These privacy settings are the same as those included in the YouTube app itself. Users viewing shorts can report content, using the reporting function available on each short.

It should be noted that this feature is designed to make videos go viral. As shorts are meant to be seen by anyone and everyone, it is implied that successful shorts should be made public. If creators do not want their videos or audios to be used in a short, they must opt out manually for every single post when choosing the video’s visibility.

Because of the relaxed privacy settings, the YouTube Shorts feature poses several potential safeguarding risks to children and young people.

  • If a child or young person uploads a public video to YouTube, the audio can be used in a Shorts video by anyone. This means strangers may attempt to engage in interaction with them as their YouTube profile will be referenced in shorts that use it
  • Young people may be drawn in by YouTube’s eagerness for creators to become famous using Shorts. This can inspire a vulnerable young person to engage in fame-seeking tactics while using the feature, such as wearing revealing clothing, engaging with fans (strangers), or sharing personal information in an attempt to connect with ‘fans’
  • The Shorts feature is purposefully designed to be addictive. It may encourage excessive screen time in your child or young person
  • There is an increased risk of inappropriate or harmful content being posted to Shorts, as the shorter length and volume of videos may make it more difficult for moderators to check. TikTok has had this same issue, with inappropriate content often being looked over or “hinted” at by creators to obscure moderating algorithms
  • Users are not able to control the types of videos that appear within the feed, meaning your child might be exposed to inappropriate content

Should you stream it?

Ineqe Safeguarding have produced a guide for young people to become safer streamers with a helpful traffic light system! Share the PDF with young people today to help them to make more informed choices for their own safety.
Click here for the should you stream it PDF

7-minute briefings

This months’ 7-minute briefings focus on ‘Hate crime’ and ‘Domestic Abuse Act 2021’.

Hate crime – Hate incidents and crimes hurt and can be very frightening for the person subjected to them. They directly strike at who a person is, their community and their way of life and can be committed against a person or a property. People have often suffered abuse and hostility all their lives, just because of who they are. The 7-minute briefing covers: what a hate crime incident is; our duty; public trust and confidence; facts; ways to report and guidance.

Click here for the Hate crime briefing

Domestic Abuse Act 2021 – The Act was signed into law on the 29th April 2021 and the 7-minute briefing covers what the Domestic Abuse Act will do; key features of the act; and what will happen next.


Click here for information on the Domestic Abuse Act

JTM’s Safeguarding Bulletin – July 2021

Topics for this month:

Staying safe as lockdown restrictions ease

Despite restrictions easing on 19th July, we all need to do our bit to keep ourselves and others safe from COVID-19.  So, what can you do?

Get double vaccinated!

  • One of the most important things you can do is to get both doses of the COVID-19 vaccination. Whilst the vaccine doesn’t offer 100% protection against the virus – no vaccine can – it does reduce the chance of you catching or spreading the virus. If you do contract coronavirus, you’re significantly less likely to become seriously ill or die than if you were unvaccinated.
  • Vaccination appointments are now available to anyone over the age of 18. Vaccination is fast, safe and effective. You can book your vaccine appointments online through the NHS website or through a walk-in centre! You need to get both doses in order to get the full protection the jab offers.

Keep wearing your face mask!

  • Though wearing face masks and coverings are no longer required by law, the government is recommending that people wear face coverings in crowded places like public transport. Continuing to wear a face mask is a sensible and easy precaution to take to avoid passing COVID-19 to other people. Many establishments, including major supermarket chains, will be continuing to encourage customers to wear face masks and we will be encouraging our learners and employers to do the same whilst JTM staff are visiting/working with you.

Stay at home when you’re asked to!

  • It may feel inconvenient and frustrating but self-isolating is an incredibly important step we can all take to avoid passing the virus on to other people.
  • If you develop symptoms of COVID-19 – namely a new, continuous cough, a fever or loss of your taste or smell – then you need to self-isolate and stay at home.
  • If you start feeling unwell, stay at home and book a PCR test online. You can have one sent to your home or book to go to a testing site.
  • You should also self-isolate if anyone in your household has symptoms or tests positive, or if you are told to by Test and Trace.

Spend time with loved ones but take precautions

  • Spending time with other people is important for our mental health and overall well-being. But catching COVID-19 is sure to put a downer on a fun day with friends. When meeting up with people, take some precautions to stay safe.
  • Avoid mixing with lots of people, socialising close together or staying together for long periods of time. Spending time outdoors is still the safest way to socialise.

Get tested!

  • As well as ordering PCR tests when you have symptoms, it’s also a good idea to use lateral flow test kits twice a week and we encourage all of our staff to do this to keep everyone safe.
  • The tests can pick up an asymptomatic infection and give you a result in 30 minutes which can help you avoid unknowingly passing COVID-19 on to anyone else.
  • You can get lateral flow test kits online or from your pharmacist.

For further information, please visit:  https://patient.info/news-and-features/19th-july-staying-safe-as-covid-19-restrictions-ease?xnpe_tifc=bDBsb.B_hFe.hkn7hkn7hypJRfn-bD1DbDQL4dHAxdbD4GllxF4_tfPNOInAxDYd4Db84DU_4FENrFojxuoDbIVZ4fxZh.LshIoT&utm_source=exponea&utm_campaign=PA%20Newsletter%2073rd%20edition%2020/07/2021&utm_medium=email

Mental health support- CAMHS

Liverpool’s mental health services are here to help when children and young people find it hard to cope with family life, training, or the wider world. Please view the poster attached by CAMHS with further information regarding support services.

Domestic abuse

Domestic abuse and violence are a crime, it is when there is violent, abusive, or bullying behaviour or actions towards another person often a partner or former partner to scare and control them. It can happen at home or outside the home and at any time, and anyone can be a victim of domestic abuse, regardless of gender, age, ethnicity, religion, socio-economic status, sexuality, or background.

Domestic violence is a major contributor to ill health, it has serious consequences on your mental and physical health, including sexual health. This can include injuries, temporary or permanent disabilities, depression and sometimes self- harming that leads onto suicide. Domestic violence affects one’s thoughts, feelings and behaviours and can significantly impact one’s mental stability. Increased anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and depression symptoms are commonly observed among survivors of domestic violence.

Recognise domestic abuse

Does your partner, ex-partner or someone you live with:

  • cut you off from family and friends and intentionally isolate you?
  • bully, threaten, or control you?
  • take control of your finances?
  • monitor or limit your use of technology?
  • physically and/or sexually abuse you?

Domestic abuse is not always physical violence. It can also include:

  • coercive control and ‘gaslighting’
  • economic abuse
  • online abuse
  • threats and intimidation
  • emotional abuse
  • sexual abuse

If you believe that you are a victim of domestic abuse, there are signs that you can look out for including:

  • being withdrawn, or being isolated
  • having bruises, burns or bite marks on you
  • having your finances controlled, or not being given enough to buy food, medication or pay bills
  • not being allowed to leave your house, or stopped from going to college or work
  • having your internet or social media use monitored, or someone else reading your texts, emails, or letters
  • being repeatedly belittled, put down or told you are worthless
  • being pressured into sex or sexual contact
  • being told that abuse is your fault, or that you’re overreacting

Get help and support

All forms of domestic abuse are not acceptable in any situation.

If you are experiencing domestic abuse and feel frightened of, or controlled by, a partner, an ex-partner or family member, it is important to remember that it is not your fault and there is no shame in seeking help.

It may seem like a difficult step to take, but there is support available and #YouAreNotAlone.

Free, confidential support and advice is available to victims and their concerned family members or friends, 24 hours a day.

Respect – Men’s Advice Line

The Men’s Advice Line is a confidential helpline for all men experiencing domestic violence by a current or ex-partner. They provide emotional support and practical advice and can give you details of specialist services that can give you advice on legal, housing, child contact, mental health, and other issues.

Freephone 0808 8010327

Website: www.mensadviceline.org.uk

National Domestic Abuse helpline

The National Domestic Abuse Helpline is a freephone 24-hour helpline which provides advice and support to women and can refer them to emergency accommodation. The National Domestic Abuse Helpline is run by Refuge.

Freephone: 0808 2000 247

Website: www.nationaldahelpline.org.uk

How to Develop Healthy Habits on Screen Time – Ineqe Group

Children and young people being glued to the screen is not a new issue for parents, but the culture of entertainment and social interactions has changed so much over the last year that it is certainly a much bigger challenge.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, children’s lives have adapted to include much more screen time as a necessity for meeting their educational, social and entertainment needs. Therefore, in order to promote a better relationship with our screens and devices, the Ineqe Group have released a Family Activity pack. This is based on the very latest research and is full of fun and exciting ways to promote healthy screen time habits – for the whole family!

Visit the following link for more information: https://ineqe.com/2021/07/09/down-the-devices-how-to-develop-healthy-habits-on-screen-time/?utm_campaign=Ineqe%20Safeguarding%20Roundup&utm_medium=email&_hsmi=139399131&_hsenc=p2ANqtz-9JBDZhaCTlY5Vowkvn-fko0DOoyI6lAqmjwlJa6nSn57LKY2j0A8hzAJeJZpGewTQyIpEEW9bPAPGhLSaCgTxZELK0UsB0Jm0lIKgz92GDA-VuZYI&utm_content=139399131&utm_source=hs_email

Cyberbullying

Bullying is not a normal part of childhood and should never happen in any form. Unfortunately, this is a common struggle for children and young people today, and advancing technology only increases the risk.

The long-term impact of cyberbullying on a young person’s physical and mental wellbeing can be profound. Cyberbullying, as with all bullying, can contribute to mental health disorders, substance misuse, and, in extreme cases, suicidal ideation. 

What to do if a Child or Young Person in Your Care is Being Bullied Online

Children and young people in your care may not use the word bullying to describe what is happening to them, so it’s important to listen if they mention things which are upsetting them or worrying them online. 

You can use the following advice if a child or young person describes an experience which sounds like, or is, online bullying:

  • Take the time to listen to them and try not to interrupt. It is important not to get angry or upset at the situation
  • Don’t stop them from accessing social media platforms or online games. This will likely feel like punishment and may stop them from confiding in you in the future 
  • Reassure the child or young person that things will change, and that they have done the right thing by telling you. This can help reduce any anxiety they might be feeling
  • Make sure the child or young person knows that it is not their fault and that they have done nothing wrong
  • As a parent or carer, it is important not to get involved or retaliate in cases of online bullying. This will likely make the situation worse for the child or young person
  • Talk to your child about what they would like to see happen. Involving them in how the bullying is resolved will help them feel in control of the situation

For more information, please visit: https://ineqe.com/2021/07/14/cyberbullying/

Monkey Web / App – Ineqe Safeguarding Group

Ineqe online safety experts have been alerted to an extremely dangerous website and app called ‘Monkey’, which allows users to have video calls with strangers.

The platform markets itself as ‘an alternative to Omegle, with a TikTok vibe’. Ineqe’s online safety experts reviewed and tested this platform and have found that it contains large amounts of inappropriate, disturbing, and harmful content transmitted via web cameras.

What is Monkey?

  • Monkey is an online video chat service that is similar to Omegle or Chat Roulette, with a TikTok style interface.
  • Users can talk to strangers from all over the world via webcam.
  • Once a conversation is finished, or one user wishes to leave the conversation or talk to someone else, they click ‘next’ and are presented with a new user who could be from anywhere in the world.
  • Users are asked to select their gender before meeting people.

What is the age rating?

The website states that all users must be over 18, but there is zero age verification. Users only have to tick a box to confirm that they are over 18. Google Play Age Rating: Parental Guidance.

The app is currently only available on Android devices.

Please visit Ineqe’s website to vie the article in full and read further information covering:

  • What the key functions of Monkey are
  • Key safeguarding concerns
  • Safety and privacy settings
  • Ineqe safety experts advice on ‘Top Tips for talking to your child about online risks’

Scam Calls

The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) is warning the public to be vigilant of scam calls that appear to be coming from numbers similar to their own.

Commonly, the first seven digits (07nnnnn) match the victim’s own number. The calls impersonate well-known government organisations, or law enforcement agencies, and will ask the recipient of the call to “press 1” in order to speak with an advisor, or police officer, about unpaid fines or police warrants.

In May 2021, Action Fraud received 2,110 scam call reports where the caller’s number matched the first seven digits of the victim’s own phone number. Of these, 1,426 (68%) referred to HMRC or National Insurance. Victims have also reported receiving these types of calls, and messaging, via widely-used messaging apps, such as WhatsApp.

What you need to do

  • Government and law enforcement agencies will not notify you about unpaid fines or outstanding police warrants by calling or texting you. Do not respond to any calls or texts you receive about these.
  • Always take a moment to stop and think before parting with money or your personal information, it could prevent you from falling victim to fraud. Remember, it’s okay to reject, refuse or ignore any requests. Only criminals will try to rush or panic you.
  • If you receive a suspicious text message, you can report it by forwarding the message to 7726. It’s free of charge.
  • Suspicious telephone/mobile calls can be reported to Action Fraud via their website: https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/report-phishing

UK’s biggest parenting website ‘Netmums’ teams up with Counter Terrorism

Launched on Tuesday 6th July 2021 to promote ACT Early (actearly.uk) among mothers specifically, this is the first ever digital partnership focused on supporting Prevent’s work. As you will be aware, ACT Early aims to encourage family and friends to share concerns about a loved one being radicalised.

The partnership comes at a time when the number of children being arrested for terrorism offences increases at an unprecedented rate, and the partnership will help parents protect their children from terrorist grooming.

By focusing the partnership on reaching mothers, rather than family members more broadly, it will enable Netmums to create the best possible campaign for that audience, tailoring content to them and their specific needs and concerns. Netmums is an established and trusted brand with a strong presence among mothers.

We have attached to this bulletin two posters shared by Netmums for your information.

Please click here to see Netmum’s poster on extremism.

JTM’s Monthly Safeguarding Bulletin – June 2021

Topics for this month:

Pride month

Celebrated in June to commemorate the Stonewall riots which instigated an international gay rights movement, Pride Month is a time to honour and call for the increased equality and visibility of LGBTQIA+ people around the world.

We recently shared some very useful resources focusing on the awareness of LGBTQIA+ and the importance of sharing information with learners and employers to ensure it is a focus within the curriculum. We have attached the slides delivered by West Yorkshire Learning Providers via GMLPN as a reminder, as well as important definitions for you to be aware of and understand.

FutureLearn also offer an array of online courses designed to educate, inform, and start vital conversations around LGBTQIA+ diversity, inequality, and inclusion.

To view the selection of courses, please visit:

https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/collections/pride-month-2021?utm_source=Iterable&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=fl_bau&utm_term=210628_GNL___UK

Click here for the LGBT Awareness Webinar
Click here for the Definitions

Affinity Health at work

Workplace wellbeing is becoming more and more relevant as businesses begin to understand the links between wellness, productivity, attraction, and retention. Promoting wellbeing can help prevent stress and create positive working environments where individuals and organisations can thrive.

Good health and wellbeing can be a core enabler of employee engagement and organisational performance.

Founded in 2006, ‘Affinity Health at Work’ is a niche occupational health psychology consultancy and research group. Their aim is to make a tangible difference in the way workplaces function – to humanise the workplace by improving levels of employee health and wellbeing and by enhancing people’s management and leadership skills. 

They have always believed that the knowledge, tools, and guidance that their research and work generates should be freely available to all.  This belief, along with their awareness that so many people face challenges in accessing good, evidence-based information to steer their practice and decisions, led to their conviction and commitment to create affinity in the workplace. 

There is a free access ‘Health and wellbeing Hub’ on their website which provides materials on a range of health, wellbeing, and engagement topics. For each topic, the materials included will be organised into three categories:

  1. Evidence
  2. Tools and Guidance
  3. National Policy Implications

The unique expert resources, tools and guidance are easy to find, access and read. Whether you are an employee, academic or Apprentice, with an interest in rigorous solutions to health and wellbeing in the workplace.

There are many topics to choose from, just pick your topic of interest (such as stress at work) and then explore the best, most up-to-date literature, tools and guidance for individuals, managers and for organisations, saving hours of time searching for information. And thanks to their sponsors the hub and guidance is free!

For more information visit the link:http://affinityhealthhub.co.uk/add-evidence-and-tools

Having a conversation with parents and carers about mental health (Young Minds)

Mental health is a very emotional subject to talk about. This is especially true of conversations between teachers and parents and carers. Sometimes it can be difficult to know how to approach the first conversation. Young Minds has created a guide to help navigate these conversations.

The guide can be downloaded here: https://youngminds.org.uk/resources/school-resources/having-a-conversation-with-parents-and-carers-about-mental-health/

The Young Minds Parents Helpline can be contacted on 0808 802 5544 (Monday to Friday 9.30am – 4pm, free for mobiles and landlines)

Self-generated images and taking back control – Ineqe Safeguarding Group

Self-generated child sexual abuse material (also referred to as self-generated sexually explicit material) can be understood as naked or semi-naked images or videos created by a child or young person depicting sexual activity. These may be shared consensually at first, then forwarded onto or obtained maliciously by offenders who will coerce and/or groom children online.

What to do if you’re worried a child or young person has shared an image online

It’s helpful to have a clear understanding of what you can do if a child or young person in your care loses control of an image before it happens.

You might want to talk to the children in your care about who they would talk to if they were worried about something online. You might have heard ‘what goes online stays online’ – this is not true. There is always something that can be done, and statements like these can remove all sense of hope from a vulnerable child.

Taking back control

Ineqe Safeguarding Group have identified some practical steps you can use if a child tells you that they have lost control of an image:  

  • Support the child in your care by helping them understand what’s happened. Thank them for telling you and calmly explain that there are some steps you can take together to ask for the image to be removed  
  • You should encourage the child to seek support from Childline, who can explain the process to them. Adults can speak to the NSPCC Adults Helpline for support.
  • Childline and the Internet Watch Foundation have released an online tool to help children and young people regain control of any nude image of themselves online. You can access this here 
  • Try to gather a list of where the image has appeared or who has received it  
  • Adults can make an online report to CEOP (Child Exploitation and Online Protection Command) or contact the local police force for support if they have concerns a child is being groomed or sexually abused online  
  • Adults can also report the URL of images for removal directly to the Internet Watch Foundation  
  • Always save the URL instead of the image. It is important not copy or send the image to anyone, even the police – the image will constitute an indecent image of a child and should not be shared or saved.
  • Young people can upload their own image or URL to the Internet Watch Foundation’s Portal via their Childline account for removal  
  • If you have concerns about the immediate safety of a child, you should call 999 (emergency number)

More information can be found at:

Click here for some mental health tips

7 minute briefings:

This months’ 7 minute briefings focus on ‘County Lines’ and ‘Social Media and Mental Health’.

County Lines – is the term commonly used to describe the approach taken by gangs and criminal networks to supply class A drugs from urban to suburban areas across the country, including market and coastal towns, using dedicated mobile phone lines known as ‘deal lines’ or ‘graft lines’.

The 7 minute briefing provides valuable information on County lines such as how it works; why it matters; recognising vulnerabilities; spotting the signs; and what you can do if you think an individual is being groomed.

Social Media and Mental Health – Social Media has transformed the way society communicates. However, the speed at which the online environment has evolved has also magnified existing safeguarding issues, including those associated with Mental Health & Wellbeing. The 7 minute briefing covers why it matters; information on social media and how it is used; what to do as professionals; and questions to consider.

Click here for the social media briefing
Click here for the county lines briefing

Government incentive

Employers you could receive up to £4000 as an incentive payment for taking on a new apprentice.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak revealed his new incentive plans in his 2021 budget announcement. Beginning on the 1st April 2021 until the 30th September 2021, employers can receive a £3,000 incentive for hiring an apprentice. This is regardless of the apprentice’s age. This is in addition to the £1,000 payment for hiring apprentices between 16-18 and aged under 25 with an Education, Health and Care Plan. The chancellor stated that this apprenticeship scheme would support individuals of all ages to reskill and ‘level up’ the country’s economy.

This is a great opportunity for you to employ a new apprentice with your company.

Hiring an apprentice is a productive and effective way to grow talent and develop a motivated, skilled and qualified workforce.

  • 86% of employers said apprenticeships helped them develop skills relevant to their organisation
  • 78% of employers said apprenticeships helped them improve productivity
  • 74% of employers said apprenticeships helped them improve the quality of their product or service

An apprentice can be a sustainable investment in skills to support businesses as the economy recovers.

We will complete all the recruitment process for you by advertising your vacancy on the Government Recruit an Apprenticeship site and then vetting and selecting suitable candidates to refer to you to interview for your vacancy.

Once the apprentice is signed up, they will be allocated one of our specialised Assessors who they will complete the qualification with throughout their apprenticeship with you. Click the link below for more information.

  www.gov.uk/guidance/incentive-payments-for-hiring-a-new-apprentice

Kickstart Scheme


The Kickstart Scheme is the government’s £2b flagship programme targeting young people aged 16-24 who are claiming Universal Credit and at risk of becoming long-term unemployed. Employers can apply to host a Kickstart placement for up to 25 hours per week for up to 6 months. Employers can spread the start date of the job placements up until the end of December 2021.

What we do as your Kickstart Gateway

A Kickstart gateway helps an employer get a Kickstart Scheme grant. We also offer employability support to the young person on the scheme.

The job Placements created with Kickstart funding must be New Jobs. They must not replace existing or planned vacancies or cause existing employees to lose or reduce their employment.

The job roles must be for a minimum of 25 hours per week, for 6 months and be paid at least the National Minimum wage for their age group. The people will not be required to undertake extensive training before they begin the job placement, just a 1 week work placement preparation course.

In the final week the Kickstart worker will undertake an exit strategy course to decide and help them to take the next step into an Apprenticeship or permanent job.


If this sounds like something you are interested in then give our friendly recruitment team a call on 0151 336 9340 or email us at info@jarvis-eu.com to get you started.

Please see link below for further guidance on this;

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/kickstart-scheme

JTM’s Monthly Safeguarding Bulletin – May 2021

Topics for this month:

Top tips on connecting with nature to improve your mental health

There’s a lot of good research to support the role nature can play in protecting and supporting our mental health. However, for many of us, ‘being in nature’ may not be as easy as it sounds. 

The good news is, you don’t have to climb a mountain to feel the benefit – there are lots of simple ways to bring nature into your everyday.

The Mental Health Foundation have put together some top tips on how you can build your own connection with nature:

Find nature wherever you are

Nature is all around us. It might be a garden, a local park, a nearby beach or open countryside. Even in cities where nature can be harder to find, there’s things community gardens or courtyards to discover and explore. Look out for the unexpected – an urban fox on your way out for the early shift, changes in the weather or birdsong outside your window. Try to notice nature wherever you are, in whatever way is meaningful for you.

Connect with nature using all of your senses

Taking some quiet time to reflect in natural surroundings using all your senses can be a real boost to your mental health. Whether you’re relaxing in the garden or on your way to work, try listening out for birdsong, look for bees and butterflies, or notice the movement of the clouds. All of these good things in nature can help you to find a sense of calm and joy. 

Get out into nature 

If you can, try to spend time visiting natural places – green spaces like parks, gardens or forests – or blue spaces like the beach, rivers and wetlands. This can help you reduce your risk of mental health problems, lift your mood and help you feel better about things. If it feels daunting to get outside, try going with a friend or relative, or picking somewhere familiar.

Bring nature to you

Sometimes it’s hard to access natural places because of where you live, how busy you are, how safe you feel or your health. Why not try bringing nature into your home? Having plants in the house is a great way to have something natural to see, touch and smell – pots of herbs from the supermarket are a good start.

If you have a garden, allotment or balcony, think about how you can make the most of it. Grow flowers, plants or vegetables, get a bird feeder and take in the sights and sounds around you.

If planting isn’t your thing, you can also connect to nature through stories, art and sound recordings. Watching films or TV programmes about nature are also great way to connect with and reflect on nature.

Exercise in nature

If you’re physically able to exercise, try to do it outside – whether it’s a run, cycle or a short walk. Walking or running outdoors in nature may help to prevent or reduce feelings of anger, tiredness and sadness. Try leaving the headphones at home – unless you’re listening to nature sounds of course! Or why not try new routes that bring you closer to green spaces or water?

Combine nature with creativity

Try combining creativity with your natural environment. This could involve taking part in creative activities outside, like dance, music, or art. All of these things can help reduce stress and improve your mood. You could also increase your sense of connection by taking photos, writing, drawing or painting pictures of the landscape, plants or animals. Noticing the beauty of nature and expressing this creatively can help you find meaning and an emotional connection to nature that will stay with you for a lifetime.

Protect nature

Taking care of something can be a really great way to feel good. And what better thing to take care of than nature? Nature is truly amazing – do what you can to look after nature – in your actions and choices. This can be as simple as recycling, to walking instead of driving, or even joining community conservation or clean-up groups. Taking care of nature can help you feel that you’re doing your part, and that can make you feel more positive all round.

Click here for the mental health leaflet

May measurement month (Blood Pressure)

May Measurement Month (MMM) is a global awareness campaign led by the International Society of Hypertension (ISH), which represents the world’s leading scientists, clinicians, health care providers and allied health care workers, all with a common interest in hypertension (high blood pressure) research.

The No. 1 contributing risk factor for global death is raised blood pressure causing strokes, heart attacks and other cardiovascular complications.

10 million lives are lost each year needlessly due to raised blood pressure and hypertension.

Only half of people with high blood pressure, know it, so with raising awareness and increasing healthcare services these deaths are PREVENTABLE, this is why it is so important to ‘check your numbers’ as you can have high blood pressure without any signs or symptoms.

Blood pressure is the term used to describe the strength with which your blood pushes on the sides of your arteries as it is pumped around your body.

Volunteers in more than 100 countries screened people in cities, towns, and villages as part the largest free public blood pressure screening exercise the world has ever seen. All participants left knowing their blood pressure and anyone who registered as hypertensive was given advice about what they need to do next.

One way to take control is to use one of the many fitness trackers available on the market such as the Fit Bit. You can use the 24/7 heart rate to better track calorie burn, optimise workouts and uncover health trends that inspire you to make moves for your health and fitness goals. There are also free blood pressure tests offered in most Boots stores nationwide and blood pressure monitors are available to buy in Chemists and various healthcare stores to check and monitor at home.

Ideal blood pressure is considered to be between 90/60mmHg and 120/80mmHg. High blood pressure is considered to be 140/90mmHg or higher. Low blood pressure is considered to be 90/60mmHg or lower.

Here are 10 lifestyle changes you can make to lower your blood pressure and keep it down:

  1. Lose extra pounds and watch your waistline.
  2. Exercise regularly.
  3. Eat a healthy diet and drink enough water.
  4. Reduce sodium in your diet.
  5. Limit the amount of alcohol you drink.
  6. Quit smoking.
  7. Cut back on caffeine.
  8. Reduce your stress.
  9. Monitor your blood pressure.
  10. Get support from your Doctor.

For more information or advice regarding your blood pressure and the support and advice available please visit https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/blood-pressure-test/

UK Trauma Council

The UK Trauma Council (UKTC) is a group of leading experts, drawn from a variety of disciples across all four nations of the United Kingdom. They are the first UK-wide platform bringing together expertise in research, practice, policies and lived experience in the field of childhood trauma.

One in three children and young people are exposed to at least one potentially traumatic event by the time they are 18.

What has been recognised from decades of research is that such exposure can increase the risk of later mental health problems and difficulties in personal and social relationships, and of new stressful experiences. However, through improved understanding, appropriate support and timely intervention it is being proven we can reduce the negative impact of traumatic events on children and young people.

The UK Trauma Council offer ‘free, evidence-based resources’ to support Schools, Colleges and practitioners working with traumatically bereaved children and young people.

Symptoms of psychological trauma

  • Shock, denial, or disbelief.
  • Confusion, difficulty concentrating.
  • Anger, irritability, mood swings.
  • Anxiety and fear.
  • Guilt, shame, self-blame.
  • Withdrawing from others.
  • Feeling sad or hopeless.
  • Feeling disconnected or numb.

The UK Trauma Council have also launched with:

  • ‘Childhood Trauma and the Brain’ – an accessible and evidence-based portfolio of translating the latest neuroscience research, including an animation and additional resources.
  • ‘Beyond the Pandemic: Strategic priorities for responding to childhood trauma’ – a policy briefing on coronavirus and its implications for children and young people.
  • Coronavirus resources – including why childhood trauma in the past can influence a child’s response to the pandemic, as well as signs and symptoms of trauma in young people.
  • Research Practice Focus – a video on why some bereavements can be more difficult for children and young people, and what can help.

To view resources and access videos for more information, visit the UK Trauma Council website: https://uktraumacouncil.org/

Traumatic Bereavement Toolkit (UK Trauma Council)

Traumatically bereaved children and young people experience significant distress and difficulties, over and above a more typical grief. Traumatic bereavement can be easily missed or misunderstood by parents, teachers and even bereavement practitioners, meaning that children’s difficulties are not recognised.

These invaluable resources from UK Trauma Council will give school staff and practitioners the knowledge and tools they need to identify, help and support children and young people experiencing a traumatic bereavement.

Find the toolkit here: https://uktraumacouncil.org/resources/traumatic-bereavement

Online Grooming New Campaign (Internet Watch Foundation)

A new IWF safety campaign aims to help parents have conversations with their children about keeping their ‘door’ closed to child sexual abusers. The campaign includes a booklet for parents, explaining the risks, explaining why children are vulnerable, and suggests practice steps that parents can take.

The mnemonic used in the campaign is TALK:
TALK to your child about online sexual abuse. Start the conversation – and listen to their concerns.

AGREE ground rules about the way you use technology as a family.

LEARN about the platforms and apps your child loves. Take an interest in their online life.

KNOW how to use tools, apps and settings that can help to keep your child safe online.

For further details go to: https://talk.iwf.org.uk/

Online Safety Bill – New forthcoming government legislation

Social media firms will have to remove harmful content quickly or potentially face multi-billion-pound fines under new legislation.

The government’s Online Safety Bill, announced in the Queen’s Speech, comes with a promise of protecting debate. The draft legislation, previously known as the Online Harms Bill, has been two years in the making.

It covers a huge range of content to which children might fall victim – including grooming, revenge porn, hate speech, images of child abuse and posts relating to suicide and eating disorders. But it goes much further, taking in terrorism, disinformation, racist abuse and pornography, too.

Late additions to the bill include provisions to tackle online scams, such as romance fraud and fake investment opportunities.

Resource – Dove – Reverse Selfie

It is estimated that by the age of 13, 80% of girls distort the way they look online.

This 1 minute video from Dove is really good as a conversation starter both with learners, and at home to discuss why some girls and boys, use retouching apps: is it pressure, self-esteem, confidence?

You can find the YouTube video HERE.

« Older posts

© 2022 The JTM Blog

Theme by Anders NorénUp ↑