One of YMCA Dialogue counsellors Hannah Peckham has recently published a book to help younger children understand and talk about their emotions – 'Conker the Chameleon.' We asked Hannah to tell us more about herself and the new book.
Tell us about yourself?
Hello, I am Hannah I live in a Sussex village with my son, husband and two doggies. I was inspired to start studying counselling after my own personal three year therapy journey. I have always been a worrier but I suffered from anxiety when I moved to London.
How did you begin to work with YMCA Dialogue?
I started at the YMCA in one of my first placements at a school, I really wanted to work with young people so the YMCA was an obvious choice although I was living in London at the time. After a few years break due to personal circumstances and now living in Sussex , I re-joined the YMCA. As a counsellor I really enjoyed the CPD they offer and the team environment.
What made you want to write the book?
It was actually my work as a counsellor that inspired me to finally put pen to paper. It has become increasingly clear to me that focusing on positive mental health at a young age, blue printing self regulation and emotional literacy could have a profound positive effect on young peoples futures.
How has it been received?
I have been blown away by the support I have had from some amazing businesses. The teaching community has been so creative in using Conker in their classrooms and welcomed him with open arms which has been just so wonderful to see. I have received messages from parents and children that have moved me to tears. It has been a really life affirming process.
Our little girl loves this book. It’s a brilliant fun and informative read teaching children it’s so important to talk about our feelings and to give them the confidence to do so.
– Amazon review
Best advice you’ve ever been given?
My dad was always my practical advice phone call, my mum was always my empathy phone call. Dad always told me to focus at one task at a time, write a list, and enjoy each little victory. He also used to say if you can’t find a way straight through, take a detour, there is always a way around.
What would you say to any young person struggling with their mental health and wellbeing?
Talk! Reach out to someone you trust. Look after yourself (self-care). Find your passion. Celebrate little victories even if it’s as small as getting out your pyjamas that day.
Here's what people have said about the book…
Oh my word. It’s so beautifully written!!! It’s wonderful!!
Its such a lovely book- I am a teacher and we are going to use it dicuss mental health and emotional health with our Year 6 children. I cannot wait!
I've just read it with my 3 year old and had a lovely conversation about when she's feeling grumpy and huffs she can't change colour like Conker so she has to use her words