This project was a collaboration between Verbal and CAWT. Verbal carried out a Shared Reading programme designed to improve resilience and mental wellbeing across schools in County Donegal. It is imperative to improve these factors as charities have described children in the Republic of Ireland as facing “a tsunami of mental health issues” (Hutton, 2021) that are exacerbated by waiting lists of over a year to receive care from mental health services (McMonagle, 2022).

This intervention was delivered within four schools between January-March 2023. This intervention reached a total of 293 students, encompassing 120 storytelling sessions delivered across 180 hours.

All types of resilience significantly improved after taking part in the programme, with overall resilience increasing in 53% of children. Significant improvements in resilience were found for girls, beginning the programme with the lowest levels of resilience and ending with the highest.

Mental wellbeing improved in 42% of children after taking part. Significant improvements to wellbeing were found for younger children taking part.

The ability to significantly improve resilience and mental wellbeing demonstrates that Verbal’s programmes can improve children's mental health and wellbeing directly within schools. Our programmes are particularly effective in improving the wellbeing of groups at risk of poor wellbeing such as girls and children preparing for challenges such as transitioning to secondary school.

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