Children’s Mental Health week ran from 5 – 11th February this year, with the theme “Being Ourselves” which is championed by children’s charity, Place2be.
Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, who has been the Royal Patron of Place2be since 2013, launched children’s mental health week with a thought provoking video message.
“Our experience of the world at this early stage helps to shape who we become as adults, how we begin to feel comfortable in our own skin.”
Place2be encouraged children, young people and adults to celebrate their uniqueness. It was all about #BeingOurselves!
When we have a positive view of ourselves it can help us to cope with life’s challenges, and recognising the different qualities of others can allow us to connect with those around us – which is vital for our own and others’ wellbeing.
It is very easy to get caught up in the pressures of society and let your self be dictated to on how you should, look, act and to some extent, think. Many children fell self-conscious, there is not enough support in schools don’t have access to professional counsellors.
Place2be work recently conducted a survey where 8 in 10 of the children who receive one-to-one support from Place2Be are affected by low self-esteem which can lead to mental health issues in later life, with 75% of mental illness starting before the age of 18.
Previously there has always been a stigma attached to mental health problems, it is only recently that more awareness has been brought to the issue, in part by the Duchess of Cornwall and her work with children’s charity Place2Be.
Mental Health awareness in schools is also a major issue, there is not enough funding and head teachers are feeling ill-equipped to provide the support that children desperately need.
A survey found 44% of head teachers said knowing what type of support was needed was a barrier to them providing mental health support for pupils. And 37% said they did not feel confident in commissioning a counsellor or therapist.
The charity also surveyed 1,198 counsellors and psychotherapists currently working in schools and found 34% said that providing services in schools was difficult.
So what is the Government doing to tackle this issue?
The department for Health and the Department for Education recently published a paper titled: Transforming children and young people’s mental health provision: a green paper. The paper acknowledges the impact of a volatile household on a child’s mental welfare, however whilst it is a step in the right direction and highlighting an important issue, the paper only proposes helping the most vulnerable families in a limited number of regions. If we really want to tackle this issue then we need to see a change in every school, in every town, city, and county in the UK.
What does the government say?
A spokeswoman for the Department for Education said the government has pledged £1.7bn to help “promote, protect and improve” children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing.
“We recognise the value that school-based counselling can provide. Our proposals outlined in the children and young people’s mental health Green Paper will provide significant additional resources for early mental health intervention for all schools.
“This includes improving the links between the NHS and schools, speeding up access to more intensive support, as well as boosting capacity to ensure early intervention and help schools to decide what other support to provide.”
Are you worried about children’s mental health?
NHS Choices offer help or advice to children and young people. Young Minds also offer a helpline for parents who are concerned about a young person’s mental health.