Children’s mental health week

1 in 6 children aged 5-16 are likely to have a mental health problem.

This week is children’s mental health week and this year’s theme is My Voice Matters. This week empowers, equips and gives a voice to all children and young people in the UK. Children’s mental health week was launched in 2015 by Place2Be and each year hundreds of schools, children, parents and carers take part. Is your school taking part this week?

My Voice Matters is about empowering children and young people by providing them with the tools they need to express themselves. When they feel empowered, this can have a positive impact on their wellbeing. Children and young people who feel their voices are heard and can make a difference, have a greater sense of community and self-esteem. This year, Place2Be want children of all ages, backgrounds and abilities to be empowered to work together to create a positive change for their mental health and wellbeing.

Last year, YoungMinds reported a record high of urgent referrals and open referrals for under 18s in England.

The key issues impacting youth mental health include:

  • Lasting disruption from the Covid-19 pandemic,
  • The ongoing cost of living crisis,
  • Increasing pressures from social media,
  • The climate crisis.

What are the signs to look out for?

  • Significant changes in behaviour,
  • Ongoing difficulty sleeping,
  • Withdrawing from social situations,
  • Not wanting to do things they usually like,
  • Self-harm or neglecting themselves.

How can you support a child or young person?

  • Be there to listen:

Regularly asking a child how they’re doing, helps them get used to talking about their feeling and know that there’s always someone there to listen.

  • Take what they say seriously:

Listening to and valuing what a child says makes them feel valued. Consider how to help them work through their emotions in a constructive way.

  • Build positive routines:

Try to have structure around regular routines, especially around healthy eating and exercise. A good night’s sleep is also important, so having a fixed time for going to bed and getting up makes a difference.

In the last three years, the likelihood of young people having a mental health problem has increased by 50% and the Good Childhood Report 2022 shows that children’s happiness continues to decline. Now, five children in a classroom of 30 are likely to have a mental health problem.

Children are not getting enough mental health support which is why this week is so important! Having a positive impact on children makes the difference that all children and young people need right now!