World Mental Health Day
The term mental health is all too often linked to the word ignored. Headlines are frequently thrown at us
‘…mental health targets are being ignored…’
‘…mental health issues are ignored by schools…’
‘…ignoring mental illness in children won’t make it go away…’
Therefore World Mental Health Day is a perfect time in which we all should reflect and ask ourselves – are we ignoring this issue that is impacting on our friends, families, work colleagues and unfortunately a large number of children and young people in our region.
Here at The Children’s Foundation we are committed to tackling the distress, disability and disadvantage that our children and young people face every day here in the north East and North Cumbria. The mental health and wellbeing of our young people is therefore vitally important to us and we have therefore pledged to not ignore but to try to be part of a solution.
Over the past few months we have spoken to schools, professionals, services, charities, parents and children and young people themselves to try and understand what is being experienced within the region and what is needed to try and overcome this. Awareness raising, early interventions, understanding the signs and triggers and breaking the taboo is the common feedback.
Therefore I’m extremely pleased to announce that we are currently working with 4M puppetry, developing educational workshop sessions, that we plan to pilot in a number of schools in Spring 2017. The workshops will have three aims:
- To de-stigmatise mental health disorders in children through increased engagement, fun and theatrical representation.
- To make children aware of symptoms, characteristics and triggers
- To increase awareness of coping mechanisms and where and how they may get help and support.
We’re very excited about this development, but also clearly aware that this is one tiny element out of what seems to be a huge wish list of interventions needed to tackle an issue that is unfortunately impacting on average 3 children in a class of 30. We understand that all of those people and services surrounding our children and young people need support – parents, carers, siblings and friends need to understand the triggers, teachers need to understand the signs and have accessible support to deal with them, we need to break down the cultural taboo’s and stigma and children and young people themselves need to understand what they are feeling and how and where to ask for help.
Early identification and intervention is a clear need that is highlighted in Jake’s story. We need to be helping children and young people before it escalates into crisis levels. The Children’s Foundation therefore ask that you read Jake’s story and consider that this is a normal child, from a normal family that experienced a tragedy that changed how his life course played out. Can you help us to raise the funds that we need to support children like Jake and those around him.
I’m asking that on World Mental Health Day you are one of those people who decide to not ignore but to join The Children’s Foundation and become part of the solution.