Children’s Mental Health Week (1st – 7th Feb) was launched back in 2015, but it has never felt more vital than this year. With months of isolation, missed schooling and limited social opportunities, the coronavirus pandemic has irrevocably changed childhoods for a whole generation.
Heading into another year of academic uncertainty, grief and confusion will no doubt take its continued toll on everyone’s mental health, so ensuring children are well-equipped to express themselves in a healthy way is paramount.
What is Children’s Mental Health Week?
Place2Be established Children’s Mental Health Week to raise awareness of the importance of young people’s mental health, as well as providing an opportunity for schools and youth groups to begin conversations about how to look after their mental health.
What’s the theme in 2021?
This year, Place2Be have decided on the theme “Express Yourself”, to underscore the importance of being able to feel comfortable and confident in your own skin. It also allows us to focus on teaching children how to speak openly and productively about their feelings. The week is all about encouraging young people to use creative ways to share their thoughts, feelings and ideas.
Why do we need it?
Young Minds estimates three children in every primary school classroom have a diagnosable mental health condition in some way – that’s roughly one in ten children aged four to eleven years old. That estimate is based on pre-COVID data, so that figure is likely even higher now.
No matter your age, our mental health is something we could all do with getting to know better. Many adults, though, already have the vocabulary to discuss different feelings and a rudimentary understanding of various disorders and problems. Children and younger people may not be able to identify the difference between feeling upset or listless and something more severe. It can also be difficult to know when something is not common or “normal” as a child.
How can I help?
The biggest way you can make a difference this Children’s Mental Health Week is by initiating open conversations with any young people you are responsible for. Normalising honest discussions about feelings and emotions will make asking for help easier should their mental health begin to deteriorate.
Children’s organisations will be organising activities at schools and/or youth clubs, so asking about these could be a good place to initiate a conversation.
Another excellent way to help is by donating to the charities working with you people’s mental health. Pledjar allows you to support several with your spare change, including Shaw Mind, Swindon Youth for Christ, Muslim Youth Helpline, The Children’s Society and Barnardo’s.
Discover more about donating with Pledjar today and put your pennies to work for good.