Bridge the Gap Child Mental Health C.I.C started back in 2017 when our founder, Jennifer Wyman, decided to take her passion for Emotional Literacy out into the wider arena. Jennifer had worked in Early Years for over 21 years at this point, once she attended her first Emotional Literacy training session a fire was ignited.
Jennifer has lived experience of trauma and mental health struggles so beginning to understand what emotions were, why they were there, and that that we didn't need to be scared of them, had a huge impact.
"It came back to this; I wish I'd have known it sooner. I felt strongly that this knowledge would have prevented so much trauma and pain in my life. I needed to share this with other people but back in 2017 I wasn't quite sure how that was going to happen. As a parent I was so grateful that I had the knowledge I had, so I felt by reaching parents and empowering them, well, I felt it was a fantastic place to start".
Jennifer researched and developed sessions for parents and teachers that helped them to join the links between mental health, emotional literacy and behaviour. After initial resistance Jennifer began being recognised for being the person who wouldn't judge, but who would listen and support.
As Jennifer became more well-known and the name of Bridge the Gap started to become respected, she received an email from Nikki Webster. Nikki was working in secondary mental health services within the NHS as a specialist mental health nurse and when she saw that Jennifer was going to be in her own children's school she decided to reach out.
"I just thought that it was brilliant that someone out there was doing this, so many people that I supported and cared for through my nursing told me that if they'd of had the emotional understanding earlier they didn't think they would be suffering as they were now. I knew I wanted to make a change earlier, I wanted to be proactive and preventative, rather than always waiting until someone was very mentally unwell, that meant that treatment and support was harder to receive. I met Jennifer for a coffee and the rest is Bridge the Gap history!".
In 2018 Nikki came on board as a Director at Bridge the Gap and the start of our child 1:1 emotional support service was born. Since this time Jennifer and Nikki have grown a wonderful multi-disciplinary team from their rainbow premises in Derby City, run community hubs, and deliver ACAMH award nominated training throughout schools, healthcare and beyond.
Having an experienced mental health nurse alongside a child development and emotional literacy specialist means that the quality of training and support we offer is deeper than surface level. When you have professionals who have worked 'on the wards' and in the community, with very mentally unwell young people and adults, it gives a perspective and understanding of mental health that is essential when working within this field.
What is our private support like?
In terms of our 1:1 support service, this is run privately, and we usually work with children for around 12 weeks, often longer if needed; especially with children who have experienced trauma or who have additional needs. We work in a unique way, supporting them with an emotional education approach, but also in a very relationship focused way. What we mean by 'relationship focused' is that we work with the child's interests and don't have a set programme that we follow. We also build relationships with those other adults in the child's network. Each practitioner will plan for each child that they support based on where they are at with their understanding and comfort, we then drip feed important emotional education into sessions, as well as supporting self-esteem, nurturing a growth mindset, teaching problem solving skills, and instilling an acceptance of all emotions that show up in life. Underpinning all of this fantastic work is helping a child to build their 'toolbox of strategies', so that they feel empowered with knowing how to cope with difficult moments in life; evidence tells us that this builds authentic emotional resilience.
Each weekly session is £45 and lasts around 45 minutes, payment is taken weekly by card. The starting point for this is an initial parent telephone assessment which is £40 and lasts around 45 minutes, you can book this in by messaging us via this website, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by visiting our book online page.