Published Wednesday, 9th February 2022
By Helen Aitchison
Credit: Padiham Medical Centre
It's Children's Mental Health week (7-13 February) with the theme of "Growing Together." Created in 2015 by children's charity, Place2Be, the yearly event focuses on the emotional wellbeing of children and young people.
This year the campaign is designed to generate conversations with young people on how they've grown as individuals and how they can assist others to grow. This seems even more essential given the struggles of the last two years and the impact of coronavirus on children's socialisation, education, opportunity and wellbeing. The week-long awareness-raising drive aims to shine the spotlight on access to help, the importance of talking, toolkits for parents, teachers and youth community workers, as well as resources young people themselves.
Conversation with young people have never been so crucial given the rise in children's mental ill-health. Worryingly, one in six children aged five to 16 reported having a mental health problem in July 2020 and 80% of young people with mental ill health felt the pandemic had a detrimental impact on their mental health (Source: youngminds.org). It's therefore essential that we feel skilled and able to have open dialogue with children and young people about their feelings, worries and beliefs about themselves and the world around them. Not only does this support our children to see talking about wellbeing is normal and encouraged, but it also allows our young people to make sense of the world, allow them the tools to regulate their emotions and talk about their feelings, develop healthy identities and self-worth, thrive and be kind to themselves, access any professional help needed and support with the foundations of a healthy adulthood.
During Children's Mental Health Week (and throughout the year) there is an abundance of useful information, support and guidance on line and in the local community.
Information and activities for young people and adults as well as free resources to encourage discussion, can be explored at a large number of websites, including the following sites:
Locally, in Gateshead, we have a variety of services to support the emotional health of our children and young people. These include:
• Emotional Wellbeing Team / Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) – who support children aged 4-18 years old (0191 283 4560, www.gatesheadtalkingtherapies.nhs.uk)
• The Children and Young People's Service (0191 246 6913) – offering assessment, diagnosis and intervention from birth to 18 (www.cntw.nhs.uk)
• Early Help Online Parenting Hub – Links, resources and information including charities, activities in the area, supporting children with additional needs and healthy relationships. www.gateshead.gov.uk
Credit: Gateshead Council, CNTW
Perhaps explore these sites and information, activities and advice, with your children. There's some brilliant information and services to access locally. Let's continue to normalise discussions about our own and our young people's mental wellbeing and struggles. Let's support the scaffolding of their identity and future.