For all of us, our children are our world. For the past 24 years, Sharon and I, like most parents, have done our best to ensure our home is one in which our children could play, learn, and develop as individuals and as a group and that they have had every opportunity to succeed.
Yet, despite our best efforts and instincts to protect our children, every mum and dad knows that the social and academic pressures, the desire to succeed, to be popular and the fear of failure can alter lives immeasurably.
Some people face mental challenges either from childhood or perhaps from birth, but there is no doubt that, in the past decade, more and more youngsters have faced challenges related to their well-being.
Indeed, Jewish schools have reported facing significant increases in cases ranging from anxiety and depression, to self-harm and eating disorders, to, sadly, sometimes tragic consequences. From all across our community, people are crying out for help and a cross-communal alliance has emerged with a plan of action.
The Community Wellbeing Project, whose pilot programme involves implementing holistic well-being programmes for students, staff, parents and carers in five Jewish schools, is our first concerted effort to tackle the mental health crisis, inculcate
a culture of universal wellbeing and promote resilience.
It is the result of diligent work by the Jewish Leadership Council, member organisations such as Jami and Norwood, charitable foundations, expert clinicians and committed individuals who care passionately about this issue, have rolled up their sleeves and said: Hineni,
I am here!
Together, we begin a journey to better our lives, our homes and our schools – to better our community. We will do so hand in hand, learning from one another and for one another.
For our children’s sake, we must get it right.