Children’s mental health week
This week is Children’s Mental Health Week. We asked our new Family Support Practitioner, Suzanne Mayhew, to contribute to our blog and here’s what she had to say…
Trevi are pleased to join Place2Be in supporting Children’s Mental Health Week. This year’s theme is ‘Express Yourself’; to show the world who you are and what it means to be you – both in those darkest moments and in the brightest times. Mental well-being has never been more important, especially for children and young people. Around three children in every primary school class has a mental health problem, and many more struggle with challenges from bullying to bereavement.
Children’s Mental Health Week aims to shine a ‘brighter’ spotlight on mental well-being, both within our families and our communities; highlighting everyone has a role to play – even the family pets! Children should not have to face mental health problems alone.
Sometimes talking can be hard, uncomfortable, words can be tricky; not only saying them, but finding them, knowing them and choosing the right ones. How could we help our young people express themselves without words?
Simply by making space for exploring creatively, by giving time and resources for children and young people to engage in creative activities. Opportunities for their hands to be busy, their eyes to be focused, and their minds and mouths to be free to wander. As naturally creative beings, children and young people can find ways to share their feelings, thoughts, or ideas by drawing, doodling, painting, journaling, writing poems or stories, listening to music, making things or simply connecting with animals and nature; the list goes on.
Helping children and young people in creative activities allows not only opportunity for expression but to feel good. Enjoying what they do, having a regular dose of the ‘feel good factor’, affects self-confidence and helps brings positive behavioural change. Trying new things, focusing on the process not the end-product can help improve self-esteem.
Spending time together, creating together and having fun together on a shared interest or new hobby is a good place to connect and listen. As parents and carers of children and young people, listening is so important. Listening, not just to their words, but their creations, behaviour, body language, and to their silence.