Children’s Mental Health Week
It is reported that 75% of adults who are experiencing mental health issues started before the age of 18, and that one in ten children will experience a mental health difficulty at least once before the age of 11. These statistics make it clear that the sooner we can spot the signs in childhood the better.
Healthy: Inside and Out
When you hear the phrase ‘healthy living’, you probably think of being healthy on the ‘outside’ – being active, taking exercise, eating a healthy diet and getting sufficient sleep. However, we also need to be aware of the health ‘inside’ our body, and that includes our mental health and making sure that we look after our minds.
Luckily, our bodies and minds are closely linked, so things that we do to improve our physical well-being can help our mental well-being. For example, being outside in the open air, seeing the wildlife around us and breathing in fresh air can help us focus on what we want to do and how to deal with difficult times
What can trigger Mental Health Issues
One thing we know for sure is that everyone is different and because of this, different life experiences can affect people in very different ways. There are however several common triggers among children and adolescents that can cause mental health issues:
- Eating Problems
- Problems at School
- Sleep Problems
- Death and Loss
How to Spot the Signs
We all know that as children grow into adolescents and again into adults, there will always be periods of change emotionally, socially and physically. In the majority of instances, these changes are to be expected, however it is looking more closely when and if these changes continue for an extended period of time. Use the acronym MASK to help you:
M – MOOD – they get irritable, argumentative or aggressive towards you. They may blame you if things go wrong and can also become withdrawn.
A – ACTIONS – they may experience changes in eating and sleeping patterns. Look out for any signs of bullying, alcohol, drugs or self-harm.
S – SOCIAL – they appear bored, lonely or withdrawn; they start to get into trouble. Losing interest in friends or missing school are common warning signs.
K – KEEP TALKING – Refusing or being reluctant to talk about how they’re feeling is common. Keep listening and ask how they are feeling; make sure they know there’s someone there who really cares.
Place2Be is a children’s mental health charity providing school-based support and in-depth training programmes to improve the emotional well-being of pupils, families, teachers and school staff. They currently provide mental health support in 294 primary and secondary schools across England, Scotland and Wales, reaching 142,000 children and young people.
Last year, 232 schools took part in their in-depth ‘Mental Health Champions’ programmes, equipping school leaders, teachers and staff with the skills and confidence to support pupils’ mental health. To find out more about Place2B, click here.
MyLiferaft Supporting Children’s Mental Health
MyLiferaft is a free resource which supports you (and those that you care for) in managing their health, care and well-being information. Using MyLiferaft can:
- Be a place to store health and care information (and control who sees it)
- Create a hospital passport (information for hospital staff that isn’t all about illness)
- Keep track and be reminded of appointments, assessments and medications
- Share care information with those in the wider care circle for your loved one
- Join our community and receive newsletters on care and well-being
- Avoid the constant repetition that comes with passing on information
We want to help you free up some time to do the things you enjoy. Our Standard service is FREE and you can try it now – just click here.
At MyLiferaft, we aim to give you everything you need in once place and this includes where to go for advice, information and support. Our extensive list of resources has a specific section for Young Carers with links through to organisations such as Place2Be, Carers UK and Carers Trust. There is also a full list of resources on a wide range of topics including Bullying, Going Back To School, Bereavement and Mental Health
Click here to see our full list of Resources.