Children’s Mental Health
With the changing world and increased stress, children’s mental health can suffer terribly. It can be difficult for them to make/ keep friends, manage at school, and feel good about themselves when this happens. It can also be perplexing for their loved ones. These issues will pass for some children and young people, while others might require additional support to get back on track. As parents and carers, there are things we can do to help our children and young people stay mentally healthy. One of the most important things parents or guardians can do is listen to their children and respect their feelings.
What to do?
Negative feelings in children and adolescents usually pass. However, it is a good idea to seek help if your child has been distressed for a long time, if their feelings are interfering with their daily lives, if their distress is interfering with family life, or if they are repeatedly behaving in ways that you would not expect at their age.
A teacher, school nurse, counsellor, or educational psychologist may be able to assist your child if he or she is having difficulties at school. Otherwise, consult your doctor or a health visitor. Different organisations working to support children and young people’s mental health (mentioned below) can also be contacted for assistance.
Tips to promote children mental health wellbeing
Regularly ask how they’re doing so they get used to talking about their feelings and know there’s always someone to listen if they want it. Find out how to create a space where they will open up.
Show interest in their life and the things important to them. It not only helps them value who they are but also makes it easier for you to spot problems and support them.
Take what they say seriously
Listening to and valuing what they say, without judging their feelings, in turn makes them feel valued. Consider how to help them process and work through their emotions in a more constructive way.
Pay attention to their emotions and behaviour, and try to help them work through difficulties. It’s not always easy when faced with challenging behaviour, but try to help them understand what they’re feeling and why.
Being active or creative, learning new things and being a part of a team help connect us with others and are important ways we can all help our mental health. Support and encourage them to explore their interests, whatever they are.
Build positive routines
We know it still may not be easy, but try to reintroduce structure around regular routines, healthy eating and exercise. A good night’s sleep is also really important – try to get them back into routines that fit with school or college.
Organizations that can help
ChildLine is a free, confidential service where children can talk about any issue they’re going through. You can call their helpline or use their webchat to speak to a trained counsellor.
YoungMinds offers information and support to young people about their mental health and helps adults to support young people in their lives. If you’re a parent worried about a child’s mental health, you can call their helpline.
CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably) runs a free, confidential helpline and webchat service offering help and advice to anyone feeling down or in need of support.
The Children’s Society supports children going through serious life challenges. They run services and campaigns to make children’s lives better.
Contact offers advice and support to families with disabled children. If you’re a parent caring for a disabled child, you can arrange to speak to an adviser for practical and emotional support.
Family Lives offers information and support on all aspects of family life, including the stages of child development, issues with schools, parenting support, bullying and mental health concerns.
At sunbeam fostering, we are always available for our carers and provide them with all the support and trainings they might need throughout their fostering journey. If you are thinking of becoming foster carer, please give us a call on 020 8799 0930 or visit our website