Two Helensburgh sisters have revealed how they're hoping to “reach a million children” with their innovative programme promoting mental health awareness among young people.

Inspired by their experiences working in primary teaching and children’s occupational therapy respectively, twins Jac McGill and Lorna Davies have created ‘Wise for my Size’ to help young people aged seven to 14 tackle their worries and learn about their mental health.

The programme began with the sisters writing books before expanding to group and one-to-one sessions.

Helensburgh Advertiser: Jac and Lorna leading one of their group sessionsJac and Lorna leading one of their group sessions

Jac said: “At the age of eight, sometimes you’re worrying about things that are not actually real; it’s just what you’re imagining to be the worst-case scenario.

“We thought ‘how can we distil that information for children?’. We both love writing, and that’s when the story books came about.

“We wrote the storybooks as a way to start the conversation around mental health in a way that wasn’t too 'out there' or felt strange.”

Helensburgh Advertiser: Wise for my Size books hope to help children tackle their worries and issuesWise for my Size books hope to help children tackle their worries and issues (Image: Wise for my Size)

Lorna added: “We didn’t want any of the work we do to have a stigma around it, so that’s why we thought story books were very strong. The power of reading to children is well researched and publicised.

“Our vision and mission are to reach a million children, to empower them with knowledge of how their brains actually work, and let them know that they have mental strength.”

The sisters saw the expansion of their ideas into groups and sessions as not only something to tell children about their mental health and wellbeing, but as a place they could learn 'soft skills'.

These are qualities based around emotional intelligence and interpersonal skills such as communication, listening, leadership, and empathy.

Helensburgh Advertiser: Jac and Lorna looking over the programme's materialsJac and Lorna looking over the programme's materials (Image: Wise for my Size)

Lorna continued: “Wise For My Size is about just developing your inner world and your inner resources.

“It’s actually all the 'soft skills' and the human side that we will need, and we must develop in children.

“A lot of parents [whose children have taken part in the programme] have said their child has never felt so comfortable and accepted, because that’s the way we design it – we value uniqueness and diversity because that is what we all need.

“We don’t want robots who can all do the same thing. We want different ideas, different perspectives, we want people to get creative.”

Helensburgh Advertiser: The groups are engaging and insightfulThe groups are engaging and insightful

The programme offers one-to-one sessions lasting for eight to 12 weeks – which the sisters describe as more “bespoke”.

Their groups are designed for children to attend for as long or as little as they like.

The groups and sessions are designed to be adaptable to, and accommodative of, each child – which Jac and Lorna believe is the best way to get through to young people.

Jac said: “Children don’t like being preached at. You’ve got to do it with a bit of fun and with a light touch, and that’s what works best.

“It’s very much about meeting them where they’re at, so it wouldn’t feel like a normal club or like school.

“Some children like to stand, and some children prefer to sit on the floor. Some children prefer to do an activity while they’re thinking and listening - we offer fidget toys and whatever gets you relaxed, so you can learn and play.

“We’ve had a number of graduates which is great and that’s what we want – it’s not the case that you’ll stay forever.”

Helensburgh Advertiser: The books cover a variety of topicsThe books cover a variety of topics

Wise For My Size's coaching certification was launched last year – aimed toward therapists, teachers, and tutors – and 14 people across the UK have graduated or are currently in their training programme.

After starting off n Helensburgh, Wise For My Size is now going global, with people in France and Hungary signing up to be a coach - meaning the sisters are well on their way to achieving their goal of reaching a million children.

To read more about Wise for my Size and find a session, visit: