We have grown to understand that communication skills and the skills of healthy relationships; negotiation, compassion, empathy and assertiveness, are at the heart of all that we do.
Through our integrated training, we aim to increase skills, knowledge and confidence to talk about, address, assess, manage and support children, young people, families and adults around these issues.
Informal public learning oppurtunities through MO@Home allow us to to offer informal discussion with groups of friends around sensitive topics like children's behaviour, healthy relationships, consent, communication, alcohol and other drugs, mental health and emotional wellbeing and puberty and sexual health.
Sexual health can, sometimes, be viewed in quite narrow terms – what we call the ‘sperms and germs’ approach - that looks almost exclusively at pregnancy, contraception and STIs.
We work with a much broader view that embraces the whole spectrum of sexual experience, expression and learning, focussing on relationships and the importance of understanding consent and what a healthy relationship feels like and looks like.
Our learning oppurtunities provide a safe space to explore topics such as sexual and non-sexual enjoyment, delay, choice and what can influence that or take it away, consent, sexual identity and sexual orientation, physical and mental health, relationships, personal hygiene, communications skills, assertion, masturbation, pleaseure, pregnancy choices, contraception, STIs, sex and the law, negotiation skills, parenting, pornography, emotional literacy and well-being, and the myriad of other issues and topics that make up the wonderful world of sexual health.
The term 'Mental Health' often conjures up thoughts of ill health, rather than mental health and emotional well being.
Our learning oppurtunities will encourage your considerstion of language use, acknowledgment of how the stigma of mental health problems and disorders might impact on individuals and how the natural conituum of mental health and ill health effects us all.
How we develop mentally, emotionally and cognitively is affected by many factors, and we have particular interest in early attachment and early relationships, as well as brain development in utero, infancy, childhood, adolescence and adulthood.
Our relationships with others, and what we think, feel and how we behave are importanct. Learning about cycles of change and behaviour patterns can help us to develop resilience and support ourselves and others.
We always use the term ‘alcohol and other drugs’ in our training around substance use - we want to be clear that alcohol is a drug and to encourage the exploration of similarities and differences in our cultural, legal and social treatment of it as our most popular choice of intoxicant.
Our premise is that a drug is a substance taken to change the way we think, feel or behave and as such applies equally to aspirin, a glass of red wine, prescribed anti-depressants or crack cocaine and some foodstuffs too.
As such, most of us are ‘drug-users’ to some degree and this understanding can help us to better appreciate the reasons for other people’s use of alcohol and other drugs with an open mind, with less apprehension and greater confidence in identifying and addressing problematic use.
Our consideration of substance use includes patterns of use, cycles of change, risk assessment, associated harm and harm minimisation.
MO believe that having the skills to identify resiliences in children, young people and families is key to early identification and intervention.
It is easy for us to become caught up in and blinkered by the problems being faced by the people we work with. Sometimes these problems are multiple, complex and deep rooted. If the workforce has the skills to help individuals and families identify their own strengths and resources, this can promote a balanced and positive sense of self-worth, contribute to the individual’s ability to look to the future and move away from unhelpful risk taking behaviours.
MO works from the premise that it is preferable for our main focus to be on what is working, what has worked in the past and the authentic solutions that people imagine and feel comfortable to practice for themselves. We don't ignore risk or problems - we advocate very sound risk assessment practice and always keep the protection of children and vulnerable adults at the heart of what we do - we simply prefer to give more of our attention to solutions than problems.
We believe that our approach to early identification and early intervention is key to enabling children, young people and families to develop with minimal intervention from specialist services and in the long term become more self sufficient and less dependent on services.
Two definitions of resilience that we find useful are from Robbie Gilligan Professor of Social Work and Social Policy at Trinity College Dublin, and author of Promoting Resilience – Helping children who are in care, adopted or in need - 2009) and Dr Edith Grotberg a globally renowned educational psychologist.
‘….qualities which cushion a vulnerable child from the worst effects of adversity, in whatever form it takes, and which may help a child or young person to cope, survive and even thrive in the face of great hurt and disadvantage.’ (Gilligan, 1997)
‘A universal capacity which allows a person, group or community to prevent, minimise or overcome the damaging effects of adversity.’ (Grotberg, 1997)
At the heart of MO's approach, too, is an understanding of attachment and its vital relevance to the healthy early development of the human brain. Neuroscience and infant brain development, the nature verses nurture debate, social psychology, evolutionary psychology and advances in genetic understanding are all included in our evidence base as we aim to guide our learners through the key current research and understanding that can be translated into improvements in practice.