Children's Mental Health Week
Monday 1st to Friday 5th February 2021
This year's theme is Express Yourself.
What's it all about?
When children are able to find creative ways to share their feelings, thoughts or ideas it can help them feel good about themselves and who they are.
Children can do this through art, music, writing and poetry, dance and drama, photography and film, and doing activities that they enjoy. It’s really 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. Given that the past year will have left many of us feeling out of control and helpless, supporting children and young people to express themselves is arguably more important than ever.
What can you do?
Here are a few simple ways you can encourage your child to express themselves.
Could you build on existing interests or passions?
Think about what has helped them get through the past year. A love of dancing? Baking? Drawing? Fashion?
Encourage your child by noticing their unique interests and praising their efforts. Trying new things can be a great way to find a new creative outlet. There are lots of online tutorials and video demos that you and your child could be inspired by… could you try out something new together? Or perhaps ask someone you know to share their creative hobbies and give them a go. Some children may not think of themselves as being creative. Try to focus on the importance of the process and the way it can make them feel, rather than the end result. Try not to judge their efforts and remember to give encouragement for trying rather than for doing something well. Listening carefully can help children feel more comfortable and confident when expressing themselves.
Try to minimise distractions and give your child your full attention when you’re spending time together, being aware of your own body language and eye contact. You might want to try summarising what they’ve shared and acknowledging their feelings.
Children are expressing themselves all the time but not necessarily with words. ‘Listen’ to everything they are trying to tell you with their behaviour, or with their play and creativity or with their silence. It’s all self-expression. Remember – you don’t need a lot of expensive equipment to get creative at home. Recyclable materials or older items you no longer have a use for can provide amazing inspiration, and of course there’s no limit to your imagination!
Let your child know that if they are worried about something, they should always talk to an adult they trust. It could be you, someone in your family, a teacher or someone else in their school.
If you’re worried about your child’s mental health you can talk to your GP, your child's class teacher or Miss Doody the Inclusion Manager.
You can also find a list of organisations that provide support and advice on the Place To Be website: place2be.org.uk/help
Watch the Place to Be's Royal Patron HRH The Duchess of Cambridge's video message to mark the start of the week.
Place to be have shared their Virtual Assembly with BAFTA and Oak National Academy is now available to view and share – featuring Jodie Whittaker, Oti Mabuse, Matthew Lewis and many more…
We would like to remind you of services available to parents and carers:
Children's Social Care including the Children with Disabilities team and Early Help team can be contacted on 020 7926 5555
Lambeth Community Early Help has a direct telephone number (020 7926 9079) which families and partners can contact 9am to 5pm from Monday to Friday. This telephone line is primarily an information, advice, guidance and support resource which families and partners can contact about additional needs which require support. Early Help practitioners listen to families and partners’ worries, connect families and partners to community services to help meet additional needs and where appropriate identify families who may benefit from assessment and intervention from an allocated Early Help practitioner.
Family Action Lambeth can help with emotional and practical family support. Contact Sharon Kitson at lambethPES@family-action.org.uk or phone 07976 201031. Sharon is also available for appointments via Zoom and WhatsApp.
The Lambeth Coronavirus Helpline 0207926 2999 lambeth.gov.uk/coronavirus-helpine is available for all Lambeth residents who are having difficulties due to coronavirus. You can call the helpline to get advice on issues you are having, including access to medicines and food. It's open every day between 8am and 8pm
And do keep in contact with Miss Doody or your child's class teacher who will be able to help you if you have specific questions about your child's education at home and return to school.
SEND specific websites