Growing up can be a difficult time for many young people especially with the vast changes that occur in their emotional, physical and social development. As it's Childrens Mental Health Week from 5th - 11th February 2018, we thought its only right we raise awareness and together we can make a difference to the future of children & young people...
Among teenagers, rates of depression and anxiety have increased by 70% in the past 25 years, particularly since the mid 1980’s. National research highlighted that on average 3 pupils per classroom are affected by such issues, however statistics reveal that as many as 2 in 5 children in Middlesbrough suffer from poor emotional health and well-being, which is higher than the national average.
Here at Middlesbrough and Stockton Mind, we offer emotional support to children and young people in every Middlesbrough school and in Stockton schools who have bought our support service - Schools in Mind.
We see young people that are struggling with anxieties, have poor confidence and self-esteem, have difficulty controlling their emotions specifically anger or are experiencing problems with their relationships, including friends and family. Our service has received over 1200 referrals, so its clear children and young people are needing the support more than ever.
Top Tips for Children and Parents
What can you do if you are feeling really down, stressed, worried or sad? Well there are a number of things that you can do to make yourself feel better …
- Share what’s bothering you
Talk to someone about how you are feeling, whether this is a friend, a member of your family or a professional. Sharing a problem can make the issue feel more manageable. They also might be able to help solve the problem.
Looking after your physical health is extremely important when you are feeling emotionally drained. Eating healthy food and cutting out junk food can have a huge impact on your energy level, your skin and how you feel about yourself.
Getting enough sleep is also key to positive mental health. Problems can seem much worse when you are tired. Using mobile phones, consoles and computers an hour before bed is not recommended. Try to establish a good bed time routine with a bath and then relax before you go to bed.
Being physically active can also improve your emotional wellbeing. Scientists have discovered that exercise causes your brain to release chemicals that make you feel good. There is evidence to show that exercise can help raise self-esteem, help sleep problems, improve memory and concentration, takes your mind off negative thoughts, as well as reduces feelings of anxiety and depression.
- Encourage your child to talk about how they are feeling either to yourself, another family member or a friend. However, if they don’t want to talk to you then don’t force them.
- Try not to judge them, just listen.
- Tell your child that you love them, that you are proud of them and that you are there if they need to talk to someone.
- Your child will feel better if they are mixing with other people, whether that be family members or their friends.
- Spend time doing things together - this could be as simple as watching a DVD or playing a board game.
- It’s easy for parents to blame themselves for how their child is feeling, either thinking it is down to genetics or something that they have done. However, the focus should be on being there for your child and helping them get the support that they need.
- Unfortunately, it will take time for your child to feel better about themselves, there is no quick fix.
- It can be very stressful time for you, so you do need to look after your own mental health. Take time to relax and do things you enjoy doing.
- Don’t be afraid to seek help, there are many organisations that support children and young people in our local area.
Other organisations that also offer emotional support to children and young people are: The Junction Foundation, The Link CIC, The Bungalow Partnership and Alliance. If you think that your child needs a higher level of support then please contact CAMHS.