Yorkshire Times
Weekend Edition
10:09 AM 12th May 2021

Bradford Author Bags Book Deal To Support Children’s Mental Health

With thousands of young people seeking mental health support as a result of the pandemic, a former teacher is using her own experience to launch a book to support children with their mental wellbeing.

With one in six children aged 5-16 years identified as having a probable mental health disorder, according to the Department of Health and Social Care’s Mental Health Survey for Children and Young People study, former secondary school teacher Bernie Leonard saw first-hand the impact poor mental health can have on young people.

In 2017, Bernie retrained as a mindfulness teacher and was inspired to write her book after seeing the positive impact her mindfulness-based programmes have had on primary aged children across the region.

Having secured a publishing deal with Dixi Books, Bernie’s new book Moban and Sky’s Mindful Adventure, is an illustrated guide with a series of seven mindfulness techniques. The book is specifically designed for parents and teachers to support children at home and in the classroom - helping primary aged children become more calm, confident and in control of their emotions.

Bernie Leonard
Bernie Leonard
The book forms part of a wider education project to support primary schools across the UK to promote positive mental wellbeing in children, as research shows that incorporating mindfulness into education has been linked to improving academic, social and emotional learning.

Bernie taught A-level Psychology for over two decades and felt compelled to act after seeing the positive impact that mindfulness can have in reducing the stress and anxieties of schoolchildren and others in an education environment. Stress affects many students during their time at school and is often a major factor preventing students performing to their fullest potential. Increasingly, teachers are also suffering from more psychological problems such as stress, due the enhanced pressures of the job – many being pushed to breaking point.

Throughout her teaching career, Bernie saw first-hand the impact stress can have on both students and colleagues, and whilst trying to put on a ‘brave face’, at times, Bernie found herself struggling to control her own stress levels and emotions.

Bernie explains: “I’m passionate about helping as many people as possible develop positive mental health; after seeing the difference our tried and tested techniques were having on primary school children, I wanted to find a way for us to support even more young people.

“It’s really important to me to find a way to make mindfulness relevant to children so they can reap the rewards it has to offer in these tough times. This includes increasing concentration, our sense of calm and our compassion for ourselves and others.

“I hope the book will help children to learn more about the benefits of mindfulness and they will be able to put these techniques into practice to live healthier, more fulfilled lives, now and into the future.”

A representative from Dixi Books added: “Moban and Sky’s Mindful Adventure is a great tool kit for children and adults alike for their mental health. Mindfulness can be fun and this book proves it. Bernie Leonard’s background of psychology teaching and mindfulness practice has brought a tremendous additional value to the book which combines both activities and the science of this practice.

“We are very happy to publish this timely book for children and their families in this anxious time with the Covid pandemic.”