Children’s Mental Health Week runs from 1st – 7th February, and this year, more than ever, we want to shine a spotlight on it.
In the UK, one in every six 5-16 year olds suffers with mental health issues, and the number presenting themselves at A&E has tripled in the last 10 years. 2020 was a challenging year for children and young people - their school lives were put on hold, and their social lives heavily disrupted by coronavirus and lockdowns. 2021 offers a fresh start for us all, but with many of the challenges still present.
This year, the theme for Children’s Mental Health Week is Express Yourself. This theme encourages children to find ways to share feelings, thoughts and ideas through creativity and doing activities that make you feel good. So, we have picked a few of our favourite ideas to get the creativity flowing and endorphins running.
Staying active is more important than ever now that many of us are stuck at home for long periods of the day. Try popping out on a walk or run to get some fresh air, or search YouTube / Instagram for a home exercise video workout to follow. Why not join your friends on Zoom and all get involved?
Being active can be one of the best things for our mental wellbeing, as when we exercise, it releases endorphins into the blood stream, making you feel good and reducing the perception of pain.
If you haven’t tried it already, why not give PE with Joe Wicks a go? It’s a great way to kick-start the day (plus half of UK school children will be doing it too).
Try Being Head Chef
A great way to express yourself is through cooking and baking – show a bit of your personality on the plate. Dig out an old cook book, or find a recipe you’ve seen on TV, there’s plenty of cooking programmes around to choose from! If you’ve got a birthday or celebration coming up, why not bake a cake and decorate with your favourite sweet treats.
Talk it Through
Sometimes, one of the best ways to de-stress and feel less anxious is to talk about how you’re feeling with someone. Phone a friend, chat with a family member over breakfast, or try speaking to someone via a mental health charity if you’d rather stay anonymous. You may just need a sounding board, but often others can see things from a different perspective and offer a positive outlook for you to focus on.
Give Yourself Some Time Out
However busy you get, it’s important to find the time to take a break for your mental health, relax and recharge. Whether this is getting lost in a good book, playing a puzzle, doing some yoga or using relaxation techniques to switch off from it all, these are all good ways to zone out.
There’s plenty of great ways to express yourself, so try something new, get your friends and family involved, and let’s put mental health firmly at the top of this week’s agenda.
Advice and Mental Health Support
If you’re a young person or know of a young person who’s struggling with their mental health, here are some registered charities and organisations who can help.
by Lucy Manley