CHILDLINE ADVICE: Prompt discussion about how those in your life are feeling
This last year has been a tough one for children and young people. They have faced disruption to their school lives, the enormity of global events happening all around them, and the uncertainty of what the future will bring.
Today marks the start of Children’s Mental Health Week. Every year this week shines a light on the importance of protecting children’s mental health, and in a year where many children will be suffering with the isolation and being away from their usual support networks, this is more vital than ever.
At Childline, we talk to young people every day about their mental and emotional health, from feelings of upset and loneliness, to worries about the future, anxiety, depression and a whole host of complex mental health conditions.
One young person told us: “It’s been a very hard year and I was wondering if it’s just me who has so many ups and downs. I can feel so happy, but then so sad again.
“This pandemic has taken so much from people and I’m really scared about leaving my house now. It’s so stressful. The fact that I’m not going to school now takes the normality of my life away and it’s frustrating and annoying.”
Our counsellors know there are many children feeling this way because we talk about it frequently with those who contact us. A lot of these children will feel like they’re alone in the worries and anxieties they have, or that they’re not doing as well as their friends.
This is why we should all use Children’s Mental Health Week as a way to prompt a discussion about how the children and young people in our lives are feeling – their worries, fears and concerns about what is happening now, and what the future holds.
If your child is struggling, make sure they know they can talk to you about their feelings and what makes them anxious about the future. Let them know they can trust you to listen, and give them a space to share their worries.
And of course, we’re still here for children, so they can also get in contact with our Childline counsellors, or connect with other young people on our message boards – on Children’s Mental Health Week and always.