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Children’s Mental Health Week 2022

Children’s Mental Health Week 2022

Children’s Mental Health Week was 14th - 19th February. Talking about children & young people’s mental health and looking into this year’s theme growing together.

What is mental health?

Mental health is all about how we feel.

Our thoughts and emotions can make us change our behaviour, or think differently about ourselves or other people.

Lots of different things can affect mental health:

  • What stress you're under
  • Who you have to support you
  • How you cope with things

These are just a few of the things that can change your mental health both for the positive and the negative.

Is mental health different for young people?

How a mental health problem feels is not very different for adults or young people, depression feels like depression no matter how old you are.

However, different things might be the cause of mental health problems in young people compared to adults. For example, adults can be more likely to have stress related to their jobs but young people might be more likely to experience problems with bullying or low self esteem.

How you deal with the mental health problem might also be different for adults and young people.  

Lots of mental health issues that adults have actually started in their childhood, around 75% of all mental illness starts before the age of 18. That’s why it’s so important for young people to learn about mental health, how to look after it and know where they can get support if they need it.

What is a mental health problem?

It’s important to know that not everyone who has a problem with their mental health needs to get help from a doctor or a specialist mental health team. Sometimes knowing what can help improve your mental health is enough for you to feel better on your own.

We all have days where we feel down in the dumps or really worried about something that might never happen. But sometimes these feelings can get worse or last for a long time, this is when you might need support from someone who knows about mental health and how to help with mental health conditions.

 

Common mental health problem for young people include:

  • Depression - a really low mood that doesn’t seem to get better or continues to get worse
  • Anxiety - intense feelings or worry or dread without a clear reason why
  • Eating disorders - worrying about your weight, feeling you need to control what or how much you eat or making yourself sick after eating.
  • Self harm - doing something to physically hurt yourself on purpose. Usually to release or cope with emotional pain or feel overwhelmed.
  • ADHD- this stands for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. It is a condition where you feel unable to focus on tasks, you might feel like you have boundless energy and have to do something as soon as you think of it. Young people with ADHD might get mislabeled as ‘naughty’ children at school. 
  • PTSD - this stands for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. This is where you have experienced or had something terrifying happen to you. Experiencing a traumatic event can make you feel like you're constantly on guard, you might have flashbacks and find it difficult to trust people.

What should I do if I think I have a problem with my mental health?

If you think you might have a problem with your mental health, there are some different ways to get help:

  • Speak to someone you trust, if you don’t feel comfortable talking to your parents you or friends you can talk to a teacher at school
  • Check to see if your school has the Action For Children’s Blues Programme running. The Blues Programme is a six week week long programme to help young people aged 13-19 learn about wellbeing and develop tools to reduce low mood or anxious thoughts.
  • You can talk to your GP (if you are under 16 your doctor may have to let you parents or an adult know if you tell them anything that causes them to worry about your safety)
  • You can talk to a support line that is designed for young people
    • The Mix for anyone under 25 years old. You can call, text or email, they also have a crisis messaging service if you need help urgently.
    • Beat have a youth and student line for young people with an eating disorder
    • Childline have services that run 24/7 to make sure there is someone there for young people to talk to

Children and young people’s mental health week

Children’s Mental Health Week 2022 is on the theme of growing together.

No we’re not talking about what you can grow in the garden or what’s growing on those dirty cups under your bed….

It’s about how we have grown emotionally, overcoming challenges or situations that we might have thought we could never get through. An important part of growing together is not just thinking about yourself but how we can help each other grow too.

How have you grown?

These last few years have been incredibly hard. Trying to adjust to not being able to see friends, family or go to school means many young people have struggled with feelings of loneliness, low mood and anxiety about what might happen in the future. This can be especially hard when no one seems to have the answers.

Think back to who you were this time last year.

Can you think of three ways you have grown over the past year?

Does it surprise you to see how far you’ve come? It’s really easy to forget how much we have changed or achieved, especially when things are tough going.

It’s important to remind ourselves that we continue to grow, learn and achieve. Even if it might not seem like it at times.

How can you help others to grow?

One of the key ingredients to good mental health is social wellbeing. Having relationships built on respect, support and kindness, which works both ways. Feeling valued, cared for and part of something can boost our feelings of wellbeing.

 Think of someone close to you, a friend or family member. Can you think of ways that you can help them to grow?

 Here are some examples:

  • Not judging them
  • Being supportive of their goals
  • Respecting their decisions, even if you don’t agree with them
  • Being there for them if they tell you they have a mental health problem

Remember, we all have to look after our mental health. It’s important to know both how to keep our mental health good and when to know to reach out for some help and support.

If you’d like to find out more or get involved with Children’s Mental Health Week you can visit their website.