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Children’s Mental Health Week is taking place on 7th-13th February 2022. It’s a national initiative, launched by Place2Be, a charity supporting children’s mental health. The theme of the week this year is ‘Growing Together’. Its aim is to encourage children and adults to consider how they have grown and can grow, overcoming challenges and developing resilience.
Figures now show that around 1 in 6 young people have a diagnosable mental health condition such as anxiety and depression. Many of us working in education and healthcare, or supporting children at home, are finding that lots of young people are facing many challenges to their mental health which have of course also been impacted by the events of the past few years.
It can be difficult to know how to support young people’s mental health, but some helpful tips can include:
1. Make talking part of an activity like cooking or crafts. Removing the focus from speaking can often make it easier for young people, indeed for all of us, to share feelings.
2. Support positive wellbeing. We talk about the importance of exercise and eating healthily to support physical health but it’s also important to consider how these things can support our mental wellbeing.
3. Remember to take some brain breaks throughout the day. A few mindful minutes listening to music, reading, or doing some stretches, can help us to feel grounded. It also gives us time to reflect and rest, supporting learning.
4. Try something new together. It helps us grow in resilience and makes young people realise that, even as adults, they will face unfamiliar situations.
5. Encourage children to share their interests with others. Show and Tell is of course a great way for young people to share their passions, helping them develop empathy. Sharing interests can also be a brilliant way to boost self-confidence.
If you’d like to take part in the week, you’ll find a number of free resources on the Place2Be website including assembly ideas and group activities.