The PMHA is delighted to be supporting #ChildrensMentalHealthWeek, organised by the charity @Place2Be. Of course, for those of us in the PMHA, every week is Children’s Mental Health Week, but this yearly event is an excellent opportunity to raise awareness of this issue more widely and start some important conversations at work and at home.
This past year has been an incredibly difficult one for many families, and we are starting to see more and more evidence about the effects that COVID-19, lockdown and school closures have had on children and young people in the UK and around the world. A poll at our annual meeting last week found that 97% of attendees had seen a change in children and young people presenting in acute crisis during COVID-19, with more than 7 in 10 seeing both increased numbers and increased complexity of presentation. And for every child presenting to hospital, there are likely countless more struggling at home.
The theme of this year’s Children’s Mental Health Week is “Express Yourself”. Many of us can find it hard to talk about mental health, particularly with children and young people. Place2Be have compiled an excellent set of resources – available at https://www.childrensmentalhealthweek.org.uk/schools-and-youth-groups/ – to help start these conversations and empower children to express themselves in different ways.
Many young people may wish to seek support outside their immediate friends and family. @YoungMindsUK has compiled an excellent list of support services available by phone, text, email and web chat, available here: https://youngminds.org.uk/find-help/get-urgent-help/
Of course, it’s not only children who need help and support during these challenging times. @LittleGoodDeed is a campaign aimed at helping parents and carers who may be struggling during lockdown. If you can, try to take the opportunity this week to reach out to a friend, colleague or family member who may be struggling. If you’re struggling yourself, see https://www.littlegooddeed.org.uk/getsupportnow for a list of useful resources you can access online or by phone.
We at the PMHA will continue to share useful resources throughout this week and beyond, so don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and Facebook and, if you haven’t, sign up to become a PMHA member. We look forward to hearing more about how you’ve marked Children’s Mental Health Week and – crucially – how you keep that important work going in the weeks and months to come.