Supporting your child's mental well-being through the pandemic
Updated: Mar 4
This week is Children's Mental Health Week so I have therefore decided that my first post should be written around this topic to spread awareness of the increasing problems children and teenagers are currently facing.
According to a UK study it is the mental health of children that is taking a hit, not their education. A recent article in Forbes Magazine reports that mental health problems in children have increased during the pandemic with one in six now being affected between the ages of 5-16 years.
I am not overly qualified to talk about children since I do not have my own, but I am determined to make this site as diverse and topical as I can which means that I will be writing some of my posts through the experiences of my friends and family.
I do however have four godchildren and have been trying to keep in touch as much as possible through this third, more difficult lockdown. They are all under 10 years of age so fortunately their mental health does not seem to be being affected too much although they are missing the social aspect that comes with regularly attending school. This is quite concerning because so many of the psychological and developmental stages that children need to reach rely heavily upon social interaction with their peers.
I don't so much worry for my own godchildren because they all have siblings to keep them entertained and they are growing up in the countryside with huge amounts of open space, but what about an only child growing up in a flat within a city? In those cases the child is totally dependent on school attendance for interaction and social contact with his or her friends and teachers. It's in cases like this that I worry for the child's mental health.
While researching in order to write this article I came across an incredible resource that I think parents should most definitely be aware of. The site is called "Young Minds" and I strongly advise that you check it out as it offers an enormous range of advice about where to go, and who to contact, in all sorts of different scenarios. For example, there are links to take you to sites that can give you support with home-schooling, financial support, a child who needs access to mental health services and it also gives advice and support for you - the parent - who also needs support and guidance in this difficult and testing time. I am adding a link to the site which I advise you to forward to other parents because it is a really excellent source of information, you can find the relevant page on their site here.
The Duchess of Cambridge released a video yesterday to coincide with Children's Mental Health Week starting today. There is a nice article in The Mirror online which includes the video that she posted from the fields at Amner Hall, their Norfolk residence, which you can find here. I have also added the video to the home page on this site.
The theme for this year's campaign is "Express Yourself" and, funnily enough, Kate covers all the same things that I did in my post on here on Saturday! She urges us to be the "best versions of ourselves" for the sake of our children and to find passions through which we can best express our feelings and then help our children to follow suit. This could be through writing, drawing, painting, poetry, cooking or baking. She encourages parents to look after their own mental health by getting outside and walking in the fresh air.
I totally agree with everything she says, but, and I am going to try and say this in the right way, without offending anyone - the advice they always give, although excellent, is not going to help the seriously affected.
People suffering with all consuming depression right now have tried to help themselves but they are totally unable to partake in, or enjoy anything at all. Those individuals need to hear from someone who has lived experience of mental illness, has recovered and can really give them hope, advice and support - from the "horse's mouth" as it were. I am absolutely determined to try and do this but in order for that to happen I need a voice and a following so please share my blog post to others and help spread the word that there is someone out there ready to do everything he can to help!
Thanks for reading!
Speak to you soon,