Now in its seventh year, Place2Be’s Children’s Mental Health Week (1-7 February 2021) is all about shining a spotlight on kids who may be struggling with their self-esteem, anxiety or any other mental health related issues.
The annual event is a great reminder to set aside time to speak with your children about their mental health, and with home-schooling and lockdowns here to stay for at least a few more weeks, there’s never been a better time to do so.
This year’s theme is ‘Express Yourself’ and the aim is to encourage children – and parents – to find creative ways to explore their thoughts and feelings. From how to get involved to where to find resources, here’s everything you need to know…
How can you get involved?
Place2Be have shared heaps of free, online resources which can be used by parents who are home-schooling as well as teachers and youth groups. These include a special, star-studded assembly, virtual sessions and activities designed all to help children of various ages explore and learn.
As well as raising awareness of the importance of mental health, Place2Be funds local projects which provide children with vital support and you can download a fundraising pack to get involved with raising cash. The charity is also encouraging people to ‘dress to express’ by sporting a colourful outfit and donating £2.
There’s a special charity single too, featuring Billy Ocean and the Young Voices Choir. Find out more about how to download it here.
Why is this Children’s Mental Health Week so important
Covid-19 is a stark reminder of the vital importance of planning and prevention, rather than relying on a cure. With half of lifetime mental illness starting by the age of 14, providing effective support from an early age not only helps children cope with life’s challenges but can prevent problems from escalating and becoming more serious in adulthood. Schools, at the heart of our communities, provide the perfect setting to embed this supportive mindset and to ‘normalise’ discussions around mental health.
During the past 12 months, the pandemic has also left kids around the globe facing the same issues as adults, including long periods indoors, no longer being able to see friends and huge question marks over the future. Now, more than ever, it’s important to raise awareness of mental health in children and encourage them to discuss their feelings.
Who is supporting the campaign?
Children’s Mental Health Week was kicked off by the Duchess of Cambridge, who shared a special video message on the Kensington Palace Twitter account.
“This year’s Children’s Mental Health Week is all about expressing yourself,” she said. “That’s finding creative ways to share your thoughts, ideas and feelings. Whether that’s through photography, art, drama, music or poetry, it’s about finding those things that make you feel good about yourself.”
It’s not just about children’s mental health either
The Duchess’s video also highlights the importance of parents looking out for themselves during this testing time.
“Whilst this is Children’s Mental Health Week, there has never been a more important time to talk about parental wellbeing and mental health too,” she said.
“Last year you told me just how important this was but many of us find it hard to prioritise. This is a hugely challenging time for us all so please look after yourselves too. Find those ways to share your thoughts and feelings or find someone to talk to, because we really do need to be the very best versions of ourselves for the children in our care.”
To find out more visit: www.childrensmentalhealthweek.org.uk