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To mark 2019’s Children’s Mental Health Week, a book written by a nurse in Surrey to help provide children with the phrases required to be able to communicate their feelings will be rolled-out to all 317 primary schools across the county.

The book and an associated teaching resource pack will be used to support Reception and Year 1 children. There is now a genuine recognition that if we are to improve the country’s mental health as a whole, starting with the next generation has to be seen as a necessity. Helping pupils to develop into well-rounded teenagers and adults who are emotionally and resilient is key.

Specialist practitioner school nurse Katrina Sealey penned the book ‘Angry, ANGRY Angus.’ She has already been recognised for her book and her other academic work after receiving the Rising Star of the Year Nursing Times Award in 2017. The story follows Angus the badger, who often feels angry and upset but doesn’t know how to communicate to people how he feels without losing his temper, hence the book’s title.

In the story, Angus’ friends and family show him how to talk to people about how he is feeling. Ultimately, Angus also learns how to help others to feel less angry by talking to them and being a good listener.

Roll-out follows a successful pilot scheme

Following the success of a pilot scheme of Ms Sealey’s book and the accompanying teaching resource book, ‘Angry, ANGRY Angus’ will be now be available to support all primary-age children across Surrey. Service provider Children and Family Health Surrey, who funded the initial pilot, are confident that the book, activities and lesson plans will really enable teachers and parents to provide children aged 4-6 with the words they need to be able to express how they are feeling when talking to others – and that this will improve the chances of children maintaining good mental health as they get older.

All of Surrey’s infant and primary schools in Surrey will have access to the book as part of the PHSE (Physical Health & Social Education) curriculum. All libraries in the county have also been provided with a copy.

Promoting children’s resilience and their emotional and mental health is an important strand of the NHS Long Term Plan. The fact that ‘Angry, ANGRY Angus’ does this is in a fun way that engages children is an obvious strength, fully justifying the county-wide roll-out.