Aoife & Seána.
Aoife & Seána.
Aoife Hughes and Seána Ó Rodaigh qualified as primary school teachers in Ireland in 2003 (postgraduate diploma) and have been teaching since. Aoife received a Masters of Arts Degree in Child, Family & Community Studies from Technological University, Dublin in 2011 and Seána received a Master of Arts Degree in Leadership and Pastoral Care from Dublin City University in 2013.
They founded BeWell-DoWell (BWDW) in 2017 to provide education in the area of mental health to students. Their work as primary school teachers gave them an insight into an alarming increase in anxiety levels and an inability to deal with everyday challenges in school. They were prompted to source a mental health education programme as a matter of urgency to help their students learn mental health skills from a preventative approach. Unfortunately these programmes simply didn’t exist. They quickly discovered that there was a demand for this learning among adults too.
Aoife and Seána set about developing their own programme, cognisant of the fact that people don’t know where to start. They chose a developmental approach, based on the most recent research and their own lived experiences. They had been delivering their content in their own classrooms and in a variety of settings in Dublin and Galway until everything moved on-line in March 2020. The feedback Aoife and Seána have received has shaped their programme and affirmed their effectiveness.
The result is the BeWell-DoWell series Mental Health Education (MHE) Programmes. As mental health affects all areas of our life there are also the following programmes available (with more coming soon):
• Living with Bereavement
• Coping with Change
A word from us.
“Since we started teaching in 2003, we have noticed an alarming increase in anxiety levels in the classroom and a worrying inability to deal with everyday challenges in school. The current facts regarding mental health and illness are startling and if anything they are getting worse. Behind every statistic is a family who is suffering but it doesn’t have to be like this. Our goal is to highlight how small changes really do make a significant positive impact in all of our lives.
We are passionate in our belief that our education system has to change if we are to meet the social and emotional needs of the students in our care. This change will be driven from the grassroots up and by founding BeWell-DoWell we intend to change conversations around mental health by teaching students, parents, teachers and anyone who will listen, tools to help live a content life.
We both have had to learn ways to cope with life’s adversities and challenges and wish we had been taught strategies when we were children. It is no coincidence that our professional development and careers have involved working with many different organisations, all within the social and emotional learning sphere. The programmes we have developed are really an overview of the most effective evidence-based tools we have encountered.
Both of us are grateful to be teaching these life skills to students today and their response has been incredible. It really inspires us to drive on. When we introduce the concept of ‘heart learning’ in a classroom, there is a noticeable shift in energy in the room. Students have an appetite for this learning and engage in it openly.”
Aoife & Seána