This week is Children’s Mental Health Week (7-13 Feb) and this year’s theme is ‘Growing Together’. It is run by children’s mental health charity Place2Be, focusing on the importance of looking after our emotional wellbeing from an early age. This year they are encouraging children (and adults) to consider how they have grown, and how they can help others to grow.
Did you know that 50% of those with lifetime mental health problems first experience symptoms by the age of 14. No child or young person should ever have to face mental health problems alone.
Children’s Mental Health
1 in 6 children and young people have a diagnosable mental health problem. 1 in 10 boys aged 5-19 with a mental health condition are excluded in some form from school. With three boys myself, two of whom have ADHD, then these facts really hit home. Taking care of our physical, intellectual and emotional health are all as important as each other. Physical growth is easy to see. In addition, intellectual growth happens through learning new skills and understanding through school, clubs and everyday life. However, emotional growth isn’t always so easy. Growing together is all about growing emotionally and finding ways to help each other grow.
Emotional intelligence fuels our performance both in school/work and personally. From confidence, empathy and optimism to social skills and self-control, understanding and managing our own emotions can help boost our emotional growth.
6 Tips for Growing Emotional Health
1. The basics: Eat healthy food, get enough sleep and move your body
Just like a car needs an engine and fuel to run smoothly, humans need healthy food, exercise and rest.
2. Learn about your emotions
We cannot control our emotions, just what we do with them once they are triggered! It’s with education around our emotions that we learn skills to prevent, ease and even heal anxiety and depression.
3. Practice grounding and breathing
This can be a difficult for some, but even if you are skeptical it is a valuable skill to master. When we breath deeply, we actively slow our heart and switch into a more relaxed state of mind.
4. Practice self-awareness
Getting to know yourself is fascinating. Curiosity, compassion and openness are necessities when looking inward. The kinder and more patient you are with yourself, the better you will feel.
5. Do things that make you happy
Personal goals can provide direction and motivation. Evaluate if you feel better as a result. If so, keep doing it. If not, that’s ok too. Just move on to another until you find the one right for you.
6. Name your emotions!
Consciously recognising your emotions and naming them reduces your emotional activity and calms your reaction.
Read this article for even more tips on emotional intelligence and how to educate yourself and help your children grow.
Don’t face your problems on your own.
If you’re worried about something, talk to an adult that you trust as soon as possible.
This could be someone in your family, like your mum, dad or carer. Or it could be someone at school, like a teacher or safeguarding leader. Or it could be your GP.
If you are not sure who to talk to:
Text CONNECT to 85258
- For: anyone in the UK
- Available: free, 24 hours a day
- More info: giveusashout.org
- For: children and young people in the UK
- Available: free, 24 hours a day
- More info: childline.org.uk
I’m proud to be supporting Place2Be’s #ChildrensMentalHealthWeek. Join me in highlighting the importance of children’s #MentalHealth. Find out more about how you can help at childrensmentalhealthweek.org.uk