How was Thumbs Up created?

The Thumbs Up Education Programme was created by Sue Mason

From Sue Mason - Managing Director

"I created Thumbs Up and launched the programme in April of 2015, this was following ill-health and subsequent significant mental health issues, to which I received Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for 18 months.  This changed my life, it made me understand the importance of such aspects of our wellbeing as 'resilience', 'compassion' and 'self-awareness'; and an increased knowledge of dealing with 'anxiety', 'fear' and 'depression'. I felt that had I had an understanding of the importance of these topcis prior to my illness, it may not have resulted in my significant emotional downfall, and the seed was sown.

From here, I decided that we shouldn't wait until we are adult mental health sufferers, but instead arm our children with these invaluable strategies NOW - pre-empt any significant events and teach them the importance of good mental health and wellbeing, and offer techniques that they can call upon when requried.

Initially, I began looking at the transition from primary to secondary school and how schools struggle to offer additional support because of the constraints of the curriculum; so many children were floundering under the weight of the concern and pressure they were under as they made this significant move.  With an enormous amount of research, knowledge, experience and conversations with medical professionals, teachers, parents/carers and of course - children, I created my first Thumbs Up programme - the Transition Programme...the first of many as it transpired.  All our programmes are underpinned with strategies associated with Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.

Following my own cancer diagnosis in December 2012 and somewhat long mental recovery, I became a fully accredited tutor for the HOPE Macmillan cancer survivorship course, and co-facilitate a programme here on The Wirral, I also carry out assessments for new faciliators who come on board with HOPE,  The HOPE course is delivered to cancer patients who have completed treatement, and are on the road to getting some 'normality' back in their lives, often family members and friends will feel that now their treatement is finished they will begin to feel better, but it is often at this point, that mentally and emotionally people may struggle.  HOPE helped me enormously and continues to help cancer survivors to move forward mentally and physically following their illness and subsequent treatment. It is both rewarding and a privilege to work with some inspirational people, and being part of this amazing programme has gave me the impetus to power ahead with Thumbs Up - and I feel through my survivorship course, I have attained so much more confidence and drive to help our children with issues of mental health.

So my passion for improving and maintaining good mental health and wellbeing is huge, and by bringing the programme into primary schools and beyond when the children are at this vulnerable age both mentally and emotionally, can enhance their mental health and wellbeing and guide them through adolescence into adulthood with a positive mindset and strategies in place to enable them to cope with the challenges that life will undoubtedly throw at them.

I feel incredibly honoured and privileged to work with some amazing schools and children, and I would love to see it continue to grow and grow, not just here - on The Wirral, but further afield too - Liverpool, Chester and further too. If you are a parent/carer or a teacher, and you feel that the programme is something that will help your children, please do not hesitate to get in touch. I look forward to hearing from you, and possibly Thumbs Up will be something that could change your child's life for the better.

Many thanks for your ongoing support.

Sue x

The Thumbs Up Education Programme is based in West Kirby, Wirral