Dr Pooky Knightsmith (2014-2017)
School Mental Health network
During 2016-2017 we worked with Pooky Knightsmith to develop a programme of online and face to face training and network events for Wiltshire schools.
Promoting Positive Body Image through PSHE education
In May 2016 Pooky Knightsmith worked with a group of Wiltshire schools to help school staff promote positive body image through PSHE Education.
Pooky was a speaker at our Wiltshire & Swindon Healthy Relationships conference for schools in 2014.
Promoting positive body image can increase self-esteem and decrease the likelihood of developing mental health issues including eating disorders and the likelihood of self-harm.
Dr Pooky Knightsmith completed her PhD in child and adolescent mental health at the Institute of Psychiatry, London, where she specialised in developing practical strategies for supporting self-harm and eating disorders in schools and other non-clinical settings.
In addition to freelance training, speaking and writing, Pooky has been the mental health and emotional wellbeing advisor at the PSHE Association, an associate trainer for the Charlie Waller Memorial trust, a trustee of Beat, the eating disorders charity and a trustee of the Kidstime Foundation which supports children of parents with mental health issues. Pooky won her own battle with anorexia and self-harm in her early 20s.
While chairing the expert advisory group for Body Image in Education, Pooky researched and wrote government guidance on the safe teaching of body image.
Free mental health and emotional wellbeing resources for schools, parents and students can be found on her website here:
During 2015 Pooky Knightsmith published the book:
Self-harm and Eating Disorders in Schools. A Guide to Whole School Strategies and Practical Support.
Designed as a practical guide for anyone working within a school or similar setting, this book is focused on improving the knowledge and skills of those who support young people.
It contains a wealth of practical ideas to implement, from teaching about coping strategies to working with parents. The book is well structured with useful summaries of learning, checklists and ‘things to do’ at the end of chapters. Mini case studies throughout, highlight the experiences of young people.
The book explains the need for a whole school approach to responding to cases of self-harm and eating disorders; it covers issues from spotting the early signs to talking to students who are causing concern.
This book will answer many questions school staff may have, including what to do about about self-harm fads at school, or in response to concerns about a student accessing pro-harm sites on the internet.
Chapter 3 contains clear guidance on teaching students the skills needed to manage unhealthy coping mechanisms, including self-harm and eating disorders.
An incredibly useful guide for school staff that is easy to understand and will improve the confidence and ability of anyone working with young people.