Empowering Children: Celebrating Children’s Mental Health Week 2024
Welcome to Children’s Mental Health Week 2024, a time dedicated to amplifying the voices of young people across the UK! From February 5th to 11th, we’re joining hands to raise awareness, provide support, and foster a nurturing environment where every child’s mental health matters.
What is Children’s Mental Health Week?
Children’s Mental Health Week was initiated by Place2Be in 2015. The week aims to raise awareness of children’s mental health and to raise money to support young people and their mental health.
Children’s Mental Health Week theme: ‘My Voice Matters’
The theme of Children’s Mental Health Week 2024 is ‘My Voice Matters’. The focus is on helping children to make their voices heard and express their thoughts, feelings and needs in empowering ways.
Even though there is no Early Years section on the Place2Be website, many of the resources available could be adapted to be age-appropriate for the theme of the week. Twinkl also has some great Children’s Mental Health resource packs that can be used throughout your planning throughout Children’s Mental Health Week.
Children are experts in their own lives and must be regarded as important sources of information about their own lives – their feelings, thoughts, views, needs, interests and preferences are sought and inform the decisions that affect their daily lives.
Children may have different ways of communicating depending on a range of factors including their age, special needs, culture, interests and personality. This principle starts with the understanding that all children are viewed as able to communicate their experiences. Adults need to find ways of enabling all children to communicate in ways that are appropriate for individual children’s needs and preferences.
Ensuring that children’s voices are heard
In early years education, it’s crucial to cultivate an environment where children actively participate in their learning journey. This means providing them with many opportunities to express their thoughts and opinions authentically, rather than treating their input as a quick solution. Similar to adults, most children benefit from diverse opportunities and resources that enable them to reflect on their views and experiences.
Active engagement with children involves a dynamic process of receiving, interpreting, and responding to their communication. This process encompasses not only verbal exchanges but also involves tapping into their senses and emotions to truly understand their perspective.
The concept of the ‘child’s voice’ encapsulates the genuine involvement of children and young people in sharing their views, opinions, and experiences. By facilitating meaningful engagement in their learning process and involving them in decision-making that impacts them, we empower children, ensuring they feel valued, included, and heard.
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Recognising and supporting children with mental health issues
Children’s mental health is a foundation of their overall well-being, influencing various aspects of their lives, from academic performance to social interactions. Recent data highlights a concerning rise in mental health disorders among children and young people in England. We must recognise the warning signs and provide timely support and intervention.
Common warning signs of mental health issues include:
- Sudden mood and behaviour changes
- Unexplained physical changes, such as weight loss or gain
- Sudden poor academic behaviour or performance
- Sleeping problems
- Changes in social habits, such as withdrawal or avoidance of friends and family
If you notice any of these signs or are concerned about a child’s well-being, don’t hesitate to start a conversation. Encourage open dialogue and provide a supportive environment where children feel safe to share their thoughts and feelings. Follow the NSPCC’s advice and guidelines on how to respond and take appropriate action regarding child mental health.
Let's make every child's voice heard
As we celebrate Children’s Mental Health Week 2024, we commit to empowering children and supporting their mental wellbeing. By listening to their voices, understanding their needs, and providing a nurturing environment, we can create a brighter future for all children.
Join us in spreading awareness, breaking stigmas, and championing the mental health needs of young children. Together, we can make a difference and ensure that every child’s voice truly matters.
You can download our 15 Mental Health Activities For Children here. and provide timely support and intervention.