This week 5-11th February 2018, is children’s mental health Week 2018 and the theme is #BeingOurselves. We are encouraging children to celebrate their uniqueness.

“10% of children and young people (5-16years) have a clinically diagnosable mental health problem, yet 70% of children and young adolescents who experience mental health problems have not had appropriate interventions at a sufficiently young age” Children’s Society 2008

I think children’s mental health awareness if far more important than grades, it seems quite fitting to say this since this was the last blog I did.

There is so much more awareness of mental health now, but we still have a long way to go. However, I don’t think Children’s mental health is particularly talked about enough. The Mental Health Foundation says “Research suggests children now need to have more serious levels of mental ill health in order to get help.” This needs to change!

The Duchess of Cambridge is a patron for Place2Be and has been since 2013 in her recent video, she says”Childhood is an incredibly important moment in our lives. It is the time when we explore our personalities, discover the potential that lies within us and learn how to be ourselves. Our experience of the world at this early stage helps to shape who we become as adults, how we begin to feel comfortable in our own skin”

Catherine Roche, the chief executive of Place2Be, said: ‘We’ll all face difficult times in our lives, but helping children to have a positive view of themselves can help them find the inner strength and resilience to cope with those challenges.’

How do you know if a child is suffering?

There are many tell-tale signs to look out for

  • becoming withdrawn
  • persistent low mood
  • unhappiness
  • tearfulness and irritability
  • anxiety that stops them from carrying out day to day tasks
  • sudden outbursts of anger directed at themselves or others
  • loss of interest in activities that they used to enjoy
  • problems sleeping
  • problems eating
  • feeling suicidal or self-harming

What can you do to help your child?

Depending on their age, picture books can be such a powerful tool to reach out to children, to help them understand their feelings and put those feelings into words.

Talk to them, if they won’t open up to you or an adult they trust, there are other tools available to use. Ask them to write a letter – often it’s easier to write things down than to say them. Again, depending on their age, maybe use a worry monster – a lot of schools use these and are proven to be beneficial to the children and adults.

Always consider going to your GP. Your child has to be open to listening to them – they don’t necessarily have to talk to them. If your child has self-harmed the GP will be able to advise and refer to specialist help.

Talk to your child’s school, see if they have noticed a change in behavior. Schools often have in-house specialist teachers that provide something called ELSA. ELSA stands for ‘Emotional Literacy Support’. It is carried out by qualified Emotional Literacy Support Assistants who have been trained by Educational Psychologists. In schools, there will also be a handful of children who are facing difficult challenges. Sometimes these challenges can affect their learning and they don’t engage in the classroom. ELSA is an initiative developed and supported by educational psychologists. It is known that children learn better and are happier in school if their emotional needs are addressed. Emotional needs that ELSA provide support for are – Self-esteem, social skills, Friendship skills, Anger management, and Loss and bereavement. So if your concerned about one of these areas, speak to your child’s school, and see if they can help.

Together we can provide children the support they need to fulfil their potential.

 

“Be yourself, because the people who mind don’t matter. The people that matter, don’t mind” Dr. Seuss.

Are you worried about a child?

You can contact NSPCC on

0808 800 5000

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