Children's Mental Health Week
This week marks a very important one in mental health as it brings awareness to our planet's future; the children.
February 1st-7th is Children’s Mental Health Week and this year especially we believe it to crucial to bring more light to this topic with everything that has been happening this past year. Our little friends may be feeling the effects of the pandemic more than we can really understand and it is up to us to help us express themselves and perhaps move through some of the feelings of anxiety around what is going on in the world today.
Place2Be launched the first ever Children’s Mental Health Week in 2015 to shine a spotlight on the importance of children and young people’s mental health. Now in its seventh year, they hope to encourage more people than ever to get involved and spread the word. This year's theme is “Express Yourself”.
Almost a third (29%) of parents admit they would feel embarrassed if their child wanted counselling, and 34% feel other parents would judge them, according to new research published by Place2Be to coincide with Children’s Mental Health Week.
The findings of the survey of 1029 parents of children aged 5 – 18 years reveal that despite greater awareness and successful anti-stigma campaigns over the past six years, there is still work to be done. Attitudes among parents remain largely unchanged since the first Children’s Mental Health Week in 2015, when 30% of parents reported they would be embarrassed if their child wanted counselling.
The pandemic has undoubtedly taken its toll. Almost one in six (15%) parents rated their child’s mental health as ‘poor’ or ‘very poor’, and 31% said it is ‘worse’ or ‘much worse’ than before the pandemic. Despite the stigma, half (50%) of parents said the pandemic has made them more likely to encourage their child to have counselling if they need it.
Catherine Roche, Chief Executive of Place2Be, said: “This Children’s Mental Health Week, at a time when we really need to draw on our resilience and emotional wellbeing, we’re encouraging families and schools to have a conversation about mental health. Creativity and expressing ourselves and our individuality creatively can be a great way to do this. Parents and schools play a crucial role in teaching children that it’s ok to ask for help. Although we’ve made progress in recent years, these results show there is still some way to go. We all have mental health and we need to nurture it, particularly during these challenging times.”
Expressing yourself is about finding ways to share feelings, thoughts, or ideas, through creativity. This could be through art, music, writing and poetry, dance and drama, photography and film, and doing activities that make you feel good.
Place2Be has free resources on their website that will help children and young people to explore what it means to “Express Yourself”. All of the ideas can be adapted for use in school, for home-schooling, online lessons or independent learning. You can find them here https://www.childrensmentalhealthweek.org.uk/schools-and-youth-groups/ They also have a range of free resources for parents and carers which you can find here https://www.childrensmentalhealthweek.org.uk/parents-and-carers/
Please also see below for some local resources and organisations that might also be able to help with any concerns you might have.
As parents, carers and guides for our youth, we all play important roles in our children’s mental health and as such we must strive to do our very best by them to ensure they feel safe to express themselves and any feelings that might be arising in these precarious times.
The YES project - provides free counselling and information to young people aged 14 to 25. YES can offer advice on bereavement, drugs and alcohol and relationships, as well as a range of other issues. Appointments are available 12pm to 6pm, Monday to Friday.
The Children and Families Hub - provides support and information for young people and their families on a range of issues. As well as providing information online, they can provide information and advice via phone on (01534) 41900, or by emailing email@example.com
The Children and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) - is a referral-based mental health assessment and therapeutic service for children and young people up to age of 18. They can support young people with mental health issues (including depression, anxiety, panic attacks, self-harm, or suicidal thoughts), as well as young people who experience neurodevelopmental difficulties like ADHD and autism. They can be contacted between Monday to Friday, from 9am to 5pm on (01534) 445030.
Kooth - Young people aged 13 to 25 can also access free, safe, anonymous mental health support, and wellbeing advice through Kooth. Kooth is a mobile based-service, which is accredited by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy. It also provides drop-in or bookable sessions with professional counsellors.