Children's Mental Health Week 2021
We explore this year's theme of this year's Children's Mental Health Week: Express Yourself.
Children's Mental Health Week 2021
This week is Children's Mental Health Week 2021. Between 1-7 February 2021 schools, youth groups, organisations and individuals across the UK are taking part in Children’s Mental Health Week. This year’s theme is Express Yourself.
As the organisers explain on their website:
"Expressing yourself is about finding ways to share feelings, thoughts, or ideas, through creativity. This could be through art, music, writing and poetry, dance and drama, photography and film, and doing activities that make you feel good.
It’s important to remember that being able to express yourself is not about being the best at something or putting on a performance for others. It is about finding a way to show who you are, and how you see the world, that can help you feel good about yourself.
For Children's Mental Health Week 2021 we will be encouraging children (and adults) to explore the different ways we can express ourselves, and the creative ways that we can share our feelings, our thoughts and our ideas."
The Children's Mental Health Week website has lots of fantastic suggestions for encouraging children and adults to express themselves, including:
- A series of virtual sessions led by experts and familiar faces across acting, art, content creation, dance and writing.
- Top Tips for you and your children to help them express themselves.
- A Draw Your Feelings activity video.
You can explore all of these resources and much more by visiting https://www.childrensmentalhealthweek.org.uk.
Supporting Children's Mental Health During Lockdown
During the current lockdown, it is more important than ever to help our children express how they are feeling. Young Minds offers some helpful suggestions about how to support your child during lockdown:
How can I support my child during lockdown?
- Talk with them about what’s going on, keeping communication as open as you can. Let them know that it’s okay to feel however they feel – whether that’s scared, worried, angry, sad or something else. You can find our tips on starting a conversation with your child here.
- Try to answer your child's questions and reassure them in an age appropriate manner. While you don’t need to know all the answers, talking things through can help them feel calmer.
- Encourage your child to do the things that help them when they’re finding things difficult. This will be different for everyone – it could include things like doing exercise or going for a walk, watching a favourite film, reading a favourite book, cooking or baking, talking to friends, or drawing or writing.
- Reassure them this will pass, you’re there for them, and you will get through this together. Having returned to some of their normal activities over the summer, going back into stricter measures might feel frustrating for your child. They may even be worried that things will never get better. Recognise how difficult this is, while also letting them know that the pandemic will not last forever.
- Spend time doing a positive activity together. This can help them to feel calmer by giving them a short break from everything that’s going on. It’s also a great way of providing a space for them to talk through their concerns, without having a ‘big chat’. You can have a look at our activity ideas for younger children, and for teenagers, to help you.
- Keep as many regular routines going as possible to help your child feel safe and secure. This can include things like having regular times for going to bed, waking up, eating meals and doing hobbies.
You can discover more information and advice by visiting their website at https://youngminds.org.uk.
The Resilience Boat
It can often be difficult to find ways of encouraging children to express themselves. Mrs Johnson, Learning Mentor at Orton Wistow Primary School, suggests The Resilience Boat worksheet by Young Minds as a way of helping children talk about their feelings.
It is designed to help children identify the things in their life that make them feel safe. Although we’re not all in the same ‘boat’ when it comes to our mental health, we may be dealing with similar ‘storms’ at the moment, like the coronavirus pandemic.
The worksheet is a good starting point for children to understand how they can sail towards 'resilience', which is one of the attributes in the OWPS Learning Toolkit.
The worksheet and accompanying information is available to download at the end of this page.
Children's Mental Health Week at OWPS
OWPS has marked Children's Mental Health Week 2021 in a variety of different ways this week.
Mr Marks delivered an assembly on Mental Health, which was available on the Digital Village for children at home and at school to watch. It also included a fun activity in which the children could participate. You can watch it here:
There were also lots of enjoyable ways for the children to join in and express themselves, including Feel Good February, the Art Challenge and the Fitness Challenge.
All of these initiatives are continuing next week, so why not get involved and lift your spirits?
Feel Good February - Week 2
by The Feel Good February Team
Art Challenge - Week 2
By Mrs McIntosh, Art Lead
Fitness Challenge - Week 3
By Mr Cowles, PE Lead
Where to go for support
If you are concerned about your own mental health and well-being, you can read more about how to access further advice and support by clicking here to visit Mind's website.
Mind states that despite the pandemic, the NHS is still encouraging people to come forward for support with mental health and well-being, with the GP cited as the first port of call.
If you have any concerns about your child/ren's mental health, you can get more information and advice by visiting chums.uk.com, the Mental Health and Emotional Wellbeing Service for Children and Young People.
You can also contact your child's class teacher to raise any mental health and well-being concerns by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, using the website contact form or emailing your child's year group (all the year group emails are listed here).
Coming Up Next Week...
Next week, we will be focussing on the 5 Ways to Wellbeing and how they can be applied both in school and at home.