27 November 2019
Author: Rhiannon Slade - Doctorate in Educational Psychology (DEdPsy), Cardiff University, 2019
Fifteen percent of children and young people in Wales meet the medical criteria for mental health issues (National Assembly for Wales, 2018).
Seventy percent of children who experience such difficulties in the UK have inadequate intervention at a sufficiently early age (Children’s Society, 2008).
Consequently, increased legislative, practical and theoretical emphasis is placed upon promoting good mental health and emotional well-being (Health Committee, 2014, Welsh Government 2010).
Particular emphasis is placed on promotion during the early years, as the most effective interventions are those that the target pre-school years (Weare & Gray, 2011).
Despite the fact that Educational Psychologists (EPs) have the appropriate skills and knowledge to work in this area (Greig, 2007) and despite a number of professional reviews (e.g., Farrell et al., 2006), a paucity of information focuses on exploring EP’s role in promoting emotional well-being during the pre-school years.
The current research explored the role that EPs in Wales have in promoting emotional well-being during the pre-school years by adopting a mixed-methods two part study.
EPs were recruited to obtain information regarding the work they complete in this area, the facilitators and barriers to this work, and ways forward for future practice.
Strand one collected data from EPs who work for Local Authorities in Wales whereas strand two collected data from EPs employed by Flying Start; a national initiative designed to work with families and children during the formative years.
An online questionnaire was distributed and findings were presented using descriptive statistics and thematic maps.
The research findings are discussed in relation to existing theoretical and research literature and the implications for Educational Psychologists’ professional practice are discussed.
The study provides original and valid insight into the role that EPs have in promoting mental and emotional well-being in Wales.