Children’s Mental Health Week

From 1st to 7th February, celebrities, individuals, schools and organisations have been showing their support to Children’s Mental Health Week.   

At New Directions, we place people into schools, nurseries and children’s homes through ND Education and ND Social Care, and we also provide domiciliary care for children and young adults through ND Care & Support.  As a result, we’re always very keen to support and raise awareness of Children’s Mental Health.

To promote this year’s theme ‘Express Yourself’, we’re sharing experiences and tips from our own care workers, social workers and education staff on how they encourage the children they work with to express themselves:

Stacey, Care Worker

“Not all children have the ability to express themselves with their voice so understanding body language is essential. Children will use various body movements or facial clues to communicate. It’s important to allow them to express in this way, make note of their preferences and verbally acknowledge that you have understood them”

“I believe this helps to build good relationships. I often join in and interact with the children when I can see that they are happy, and this encourages them to continue to express themselves.”

Diana, Child Residential Worker

“With mental health being an ever increasing factor within the well-being of the young people I work with; I take pride in truly understanding their background and past traumas to be as informed as I can be. In turn this allows me to build and support a bespoke development approach; which allows the young people to engage in varied activities and develop at a pace that is suitable for them.”

Education Staff from Aberbargoed Primary School

“We actively plan for ways for our pupils to share feelings, thoughts or ideas through a range of methods. This could be through art, music, writing and poetry, dance and drama within class learning and as part of wider community based projects. Holistic topic based learning approaches develop teamwork and a sense of community, giving pupils agency when engaging in their learning. 

We use specific resources to support pupils’ ability to talk about their feelings and ideas both as a whole class or in small groups. Pupils engage in mindfulness, calming activities, and are encouraged to share their ideas within safe and accepting peer groups. 

Pupils are also encouraged to take part in activities, which provide opportunity to share their views and opinions about school life, for example, being part of the school council, eco-council or taking on the role of a learning detective. 

Children’s abilities to express themselves through self-chosen tasks and hobbies such as dance and sport are celebrated and shared within school and the wider community.”

#HealthySelfies

Throughout Children’s Mental Health Week, staff from Aberbargoed Primary School have been posting daily #healthyselfies. Take a look at their pictures on Twitter – @AberbargoedPS

Our own Director of New Directions Education, Gary Williams, also provides a comment on how impressed he has been with children of all ages coping with such difficult circumstances throughout the last year:

“I have been so impressed by how well children and teenagers have adapted to constant changes throughout the pandemic.  I talk to Head Teachers and Education Staff everyday and their pupils really are an inspiration.  Just watching my own 14 year old daughter;  I have been in awe and inspired by her resilience and positive mental attitude, she has embraced lockdown, reinvented her social activities and made the most of the situation.”

At New Directions, we will always strive to do everything we can to support the education staff, social and care workers who are fundamental in the development and support of children and young adults.”

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