The Pinkie Resilience Project

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It’s been a wee while since my last post (thanks, Nisha, for reminding me – this post is dedicated to you!). But there are some good reasons for that. One can be found in the title of this post. What is the Pinkie Resilience Project, you ask? Well, it’s a bit of a long story…

It all started when a child psychiatrist named Iain McClure heard me give a 5-minute talk on the histor of hyperactivity on Radio 3. I think he said later that he was in the shower, which I didn’t really need to know. Anyway, he was intrigued by my take on ADHD and we stayed in touch, eventually presenting a paper together at a conference here at Strathclyde. One of those in attendance was the head teacher of Pinkie St Peter’s Primary in Musselburgh, with whom Iain works on a regular basis. She liked what she heard from me, Iain and the others on the panel and wondered if we could all collaborate to develop a pilot project promoting good mental health in very young children.

At the time, I thought, uh, sure, I guess so, but didn’t really think anything would come of it (I am quite the pessimist, really). But a day or so later, I saw a call for proposals from the Scottish Universities Insight Initiative addressing reducing inequalities in post-referendum Scotland (this was just before the big day) and I figured we’d give it a shot. Four months later we have £15,000 to run a series of events aimed at developing a pilot project at Pinkie. It’s a great opportunity to make a real difference (dare I say impact) in the community, or at least raise some awareness about child mental health and all its various determinants. For more on the specifics, go here:

Although I really shouldn’t be heading the project (for a great number of reasons), I am, and, as such, I get a say in what gets covered in our programme of events. My main focus as been to ensure that as many determinants of mental health are discussed, particularly at our symposium in April. Nutrition, exercise, exposure to nature and music will be on the agenda, along with some of the more usual suspects. After the symposium, we will hold a workshop where we select the initiatives most suited to Pinkie and think about applying for funding for a pilot. While my expectations, as ever, are not particularly high, you never know what might happen. Maybe we will start to get more clever about child mental health, and children/childhood, more generally in Scotland.