Mental Health Monday – Children’s Mental Health Week

Today marls the start of Children’s Mental Health Week

Last week I had the radio on while out driving and heard that teachers had been asked about their pupils mental health. I can’t remember the exact statistics but many had seen a massive increase in children experiencing anxiety and only 1 in 5 had been able to seek proper support for this.

Rates of probable mental disorders have increased since 2017; in 6 to 16 year olds from one one in nine (11.6%) to one in six (17.4%), and in 17 to 19 year olds from one in ten (10.1%) to one in six (17.4%). Rates in both age groups remained similar between 2020 and 2021.

Mental Health of Children and Young People in England 2021 – wave 2 follow up to the 2017 survey, NHS

We are all used to hearing these kind of reports on the news but what does that really mean for our kids? What do we need to look out for and what do we need to do if we suspect an issue? I have collated a few bits of information in this post that will hopefully help you.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

What To Look Out For

We all have times when we feel sad, low, angry or anxious and this is completely normal. If these symptoms are lasting for long periods, or are affecting day to day life however, it may be time to seek professional help.

Signs to look out for:

  • sleeping more or less than normal
  • eating more or less than normal
  • significant changes in behaviour
  • not wanting to do things they usually enjoy
  • withdrawing socially
  • less confidence, being self-critical
  • self harm or neglecting themselves

Some mental health problems also trigger physical symptoms such as panic attacks and feeling sick.

How To Seek Professional Help For Your Child

GP

Your first port of call will most likely be your GP. They will be able to talk to you and your child about your concerns, see what your child feels about things and offer you advice about how to support your child. They will be able to discuss suitable support and treatment options and let you know about services in your area that may be able to help. They can also arrange regular follow ups to monitor how your child is managing.

CAMHS

CAMHS stands for Children & Adolescent Mental Health Services and is a free, NHS-run service. CAMHS teams have a number of different professionals that work with children and young people including  nurses, therapists, psychologists, child and adolescent psychiatrists (medical doctors specialising in mental health), support workers and social workers, as well as others. CAMHS teams run in local areas and they may run slightly differently in different parts of the country.

To access your local CAMHS you can search on the NHS website or speak to your GP.

School

You can also speak to someone at your child’s school. Most schools have a designated teacher who will deal with things like this and will be able to ensure the school has things in place to support your child. They can also signpost you to other services that you may find helpful. Many schools also have therapists who can work with children individually and in groups, which can be put in place should you, your child and their teacher think it is suitable.

Charities

Young Minds offer a range of different services to help children and young people

Young Minds also support parents and carers who are worried about their child’s mental health. They can be contacted via telephone, email and web chat. Find out more on the Young Minds website.

Action For Children can also offer support for both children and young people, and parents/carers – find out more on their website Their Parent Talk is an online hub where parents can read advice articles or speak one-to-one with a coach.

Barnardo’s have created the Barnardo’s Covid-19 Support Hub where you can find information, resources & tools – from practical advice on how to talk to your children about the pandemic, to tips on managing anxiety and much more

Getting Urgent Help

If you are worried that your child is at immediate risk of harm, or is not safe, call 999 or take them to A&E. Do not worry that this isn’t the right thing to do – the NHS is very clear that a mental health emergency should be taken as seriously as a physical one – and that you will not be wasting anyone’s time.

You can also call 111 for 24-hour advice and support.


It is important that you remember – you know your child best – and if you have worries or concerns then it is right to act on them. It is also helpful to access the parents/carers support I have included in this post, so you are able to look after your own mental health, while learning how to best support your child.

Take care and keep safe,

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