This week is Children’s Mental Health Week (6 – 12 February) and this year’s theme is all about connecting. Advanced Public Health Practitioner for Mental Health, Jayne Cook explains how encouraging children, young people (and the adults around them) to make meaningful connections is essential to supporting mental health and wellbeing.
“Children and Young People’s mental health and wellbeing is really important, because what happens in infancy, childhood and adolescence impacts the rest of their life.
This includes their physical health, life expectancy, developing healthy relationships and future success in education and employment.
Mental distress impacts whole families. It can influence future outcomes and the resilience of children from the very beginning – this is why the period during pregnancy and up to the second year of life, is known as the critical first 1001 days.
Mental health needs are high in Liverpool for people of all ages. The impact of the pandemic and more recently the cost-of-living crisis has driven up these needs and children, young people and their families are amongst the most heavily impacted.
A recent survey of Liverpool school pupils showed that around 1 in 5 show signs of anxiety and depression – and with Liverpool at the higher end of the scale when it comes to the numbers of children living with social, emotional and mental health needs, services are struggling to cope with current demand.
The number of children and young people requiring mental health services has increased by 142% since the pandemic – but the positive in all of this is that there is a great network of services out there.
It’s essential that we share information about this support, so it’s easier to know where to go and how to work together, to break down the stigma that still surrounds asking for mental health help.
One thing we can all do (which will make a big difference) is to acknowledge how mental health impacts on every aspect of our lives and to connect and support each other.
The theme of Children’s Mental Health Week is about connecting and enjoying time with others.
In a vibrant city like Liverpool, known for its community spirit – it’s not difficult to get involved in activities, meet new people and make friends.
Getting connected is truly one of the best things we can all do to boost our wellbeing and is a wonderful way to mark this Children’s Mental Health Week.”
For information about Child Mental Health Week activities in Liverpool:
How to get support
If you’re struggling and feel like you need mental health support – you are not alone – and help is available.
Even if there is a wait to be seen, services will be in touch to let you know about things you can do and access straight away to help yourself feel better.
Importantly, no one in Liverpool has to wait to get help if they are in crisis, you can always get help straight away.
For immediate help in Liverpool you can call:
Adults (18+) call 0800 145 6570 or text HEAL to 85258
Under 18 – 0808 196 3550 or text GREEN to 85258
These are free, confidential support services, available all day, every day, for anyone who is feeling overwhelmed, or who is struggling to cope
If you feel you are in immediate danger you can call 999 or ask for help at A&E where you will also be supported to speak to a mental health professional.
For mental health and wellbeing support for new or expectant parent- PSS Website
For practical support with things that impact mental health or information on improving wellbeing for children and young people – CAMHS Website.
Things you can do to make a difference
Alongside connecting with others, the ‘Five Ways to Wellbeing’ are proven to make a difference to people’s lives.
- Physical activity – even something as simple as a walk in natural surroundings
- Mindfulness – which is about resetting your thoughts by paying very close attention to whatever is happening around you in the present moment
- Learning new things – which enriches the mind and sense of meaning
- Giving to others – simple acts of kindness that help us feel good by brightening someone else’s day.
For mental health support, practical support with things that impact mental health or information on improving wellbeing for adults, including parents visit: https://kindtoyourmindliverpool.co.uk/