Bringing hope to the mental health crisis.

Bringing hope to the mental health crisis.

24th May 2024

Research shows that ‘five children in a class of 30 are now likely to have a mental health problem’ (Good Childhood Report 2022). Therefore, it’s no surprise that ‘poor emotional well-being is at the heart of an overall rise in mental health disorders’ (Youthscape Research project 2023).  

From poverty to bereavement, family breakdown, and food insecurity, there are children across the UK facing some of the toughest starts in life. Here at TLG (Transforming Lives for Good) we believe change is possible and that no child should have to struggle alone. That's why in all our work lies an unchanging resolve to give struggling children hope and a future. 

TLG is a national Christian children's charity with 25 years of experience working with vulnerable children using trauma-informed expertise. Our TLG Early Intervention programme exists to equip churches to support struggling children in schools through coaching – one coach, one child, one hour a week.  And we are seeing an incredible impact! 

The transformational impact of the consistent approach of TLG Early Intervention is immeasurable. The coaching creates a safe space for each child to build a connection with a trusted adult, and to explore their emotions. 82% of our coaches are also connecting with parents/carers to further strengthen this support for their coached child. This incredibly effective tool enables the church to join in with God’s heart, for every child to know a future full of hope.  

84% of TLG-coached children say that they feel more confident after a year of Early Intervention and 85% of children feel more positive. We can see how valuable this offer to schools is. One coached child recently said ‘If I was feeling stressed my coach would help me with ideas to make it better. My TLG sessions are really fun and help me feel calm. My coach is kind and fun and lovely. I feel like she has helped me with my panic attacks. I don’t really have them anymore. I feel calmer in the classroom. I don’t shout out anymore.’ 

TLG is responding to the growing children’s mental health crisis by ensuring we provide expert training for our volunteers, creative and accessible resources, and regular professional on-going support as well as a safe and supportive online community.   

TLG coaches are trained to approach sessions with a PACE approach - Playfulness, Acceptance, Curiosity, and Empathy. The coaching hour is spent solely dedicated to the child having a positive session. We have seen that coaching enables children to return to class more relaxed and ready to learn. Mental health and wellbeing have visibly improved for all the children who have received support from TLG as well as increasing their sense of belonging. Back in class, children are more engaged with their learning and the number of behaviour incidents is reduced. 

One of our amazing volunteer coaches said: ‘I've learned (again!) that just turning up regularly for the child and doing things that they want to do is the most valuable part of coaching, and it means a lot to the parents as well. I have also learned that relationships with parents are often a slow burn, and you need to persevere with the positive texts. I have learned that prayer changes things!’ 

Headteachers are full of praise for the programme, noticing the impact coaching is having, not only for the coached children but on the whole school culture, with one saying ‘The TLG coaches we have had supporting children at our school have truly transformed their experience of schooling and their lives. The children selected are usually highly vulnerable and in need of a deeper connection with an adult. Having an hour with an adult who is just there for them once a week across a whole year provides an opportunity for the children to build trusting relationships over time and is incredibly regulating and reassuring for them.’ 

TLG Early Intervention weekly coaching lasts a year but is often the beginning of a very significant support relationship for the whole family.  One in five of the children and families helped, connect beyond the TLG programme, into the wider support and life of the local church.  Our heart is that struggles and difficulties would be turned around and be the beginning of hope and belonging that transforms lives for good.      

Tim Morfin

Tim Morfin

Tim Morfin is the founder and Chief Executive of TLG. Tim, together with a group of other volunteers from a local church, began TLG by helping young people struggling in school in Bradford. He now leads the organisation nationally, still committed to bringing hope and a future to children and their families. He is married to Rachel and has three teenage sons.

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