We are delighted to welcome Chris Paul to the Royal Caledonian Education Trust, who today begins his role as Children and Family and Family Services Manager.
Chris will take on the responsibility for enhancing mental health and wellbeing support services for children and young people from serving personnel, reservist and veteran families across Scotland, as well as manage the continued development of our Your Mind Matters Project.
His role will involve working directly with children and young people from forces families, as well as colleagues and external partners to co-develop, mobilise and launch new mental health and wellbeing services, which includes trauma informed family support, individual, group and peer support models.
We caught up with Chris recently to ask him a couple of questions about starting his new role with the Royal Caledonian Education Trust.
What attracted you to apply for the role?
“This opportunity is one that really excites me and I cannot wait to get started. My two main passions are working with people and supporting mental health and I have devoted my career to both. This opportunity allows me to continue my work within a new organisation, with armed forces families, children and young people which is something fresh and exciting. I am looking forward to making a real difference.”
Have you previously worked within the Armed Forces community?
“I have been fortunate to work alongside members of the Armed Forces, supporting them with their mental health and wellbeing. This has included connecting with people during the first lockdown phase and helping them with the challenges they were facing. This involved connecting with fathers who found being stuck at home a very challenging situation and struggled to manage their mental health.
“I have tremendous respect for the Armed Forces community and the pivotal role they play within society and I am eager to learn as much as I can to help in the best way possible. Although I never got to meet my Grandfather, I know he served with the Seaforth Highlanders and his brave efforts have always been something I am proud of.”
How will you enhance mental health and wellbeing services for children and young people?
“I pride myself in being innovative in the way that I work and have shown this working within mental health and wellbeing, creating a successful suicide prevention service for my home area. I will be looking to transfer this level of energy and creativity to this role for the Armed Forces families, children and young people.
“I think it’s hugely important that a mental health and wellbeing service provides the early intervention and support required, meeting people where they are at and providing the care and connection required to make positive changes. Supporting mental health for our young people and their families has never been more important and I look forward to working alongside them to build and create a service that goes beyond meeting their needs, leaving a positive and lasting impact on their wellbeing.”
How important do you feel it is to consider the holistic environment, in support of achieving your aims?
“In my experience of working alongside young people in a family support service connected to education, it was always hugely important to be involved in the wider world of the young people, including the family and home environment. Parents and carers play an essential role in supporting children and young people on a daily basis and it can be a demanding and tough task, particularly if some are doing it on their own for periods of time. I believe in the power of relationships with parents and building those foundations through trust and compassion. I know that every family is very different and having a tailored and individual approach is key to getting the best support to people.
“As well as my own career experience of supporting young people and their families, I also bring my own life experience of being a father and I know first hand how challenging the lockdown period was. I hope that my approach with everyone connected with this charity will help achieve our aims and support everyone at the level they need at a time that has never been more crucial.”