Growing together to support children’s mental health

During this year’s Children’s Mental Health Week (7-13 February), Somerset County Council is working with ‘Young Somerset’ to encourage children to consider how they have grown, and how they can help others to grow as part of this year’s ‘Growing Together’ theme.

Children and young people are coming through a period of unprecedented disruption which has increased their isolation and removed huge opportunities for socialisation and development.

The organisations want to reach out to all children and young people in Somerset who are uncertain and feeling low – to hear their voice, to recognise their needs, to listen well, and to help and support them towards positive wellbeing and mental health. Growing together builds strength.

Councillor Clare Paul, Somerset County Council’s cabinet member responsible for health and wellbeing, said: “It has been an unprecedented couple of years which has left its mark on many people’s mental health. It has been particularly tough on our children and young people.

“I would like to reach out to all young people and say, ‘it’s alright to not be alright’. If you are struggling with anxiety or your mental health – help is and always will be available for you.”

Place2Be, the campaign’s creators, have a number of free resources to help you take part in the week. All of the ideas can be adapted for use in school, for home-schooling, online lessons or independent learning and are available through their website.

Young Somerset have developed some children’s and young people’s resources based on Place2Be’s theme and activities

To celebrate Place2Be’s Children’s Mental Health Week, they are exploring some creative ways to grow emotionally and find ways to help each other grow, take a look and share these resources below: 

Growing together for primary

Growing together for teens

Nik Harwood, Chief Executive Officer at Young Somerset, commented: “The theme of this year’s campaign, ‘Growing Together’, is important as it recognises that no-one has to suffer alone.

“I’m reminded of Prince Harry saying: ‘It is okay to have depression. It is okay to have anxiety and it is okay to have an adjustment disorder. We need to improve the conversation. We all have mental health in the same way we all have physical health.’ Growing together means sharing – how we are feeling, how we are struggling, how we are thriving and growing together means learning from each other, supporting each other and getting strength from each other.”

There are many organisations that can support you with your mental health:

  • Mental Health Toolkit – A website dedicated to support parents and carers to find the information they need to help with their role of ‘being a parent’. It has common topics that affect families.
  • Somerset Counselling Youth Access – A website aimed at providing children and young people with information about where and how they can access counselling in the County to best suit their needs.
  • Every Mind Matters – A website containing expert advice and practical tips to help you look after your mental health and wellbeing, so discover what works for you.
  • Mindline offer a confidential listening service which provides a safe place to talk if you, or someone you know, is in distress. They can also give basic information about mental health and local support services. The service is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and can be contacted on 01823 276 892.
  • Young Minds – You are not alone, however you’re feeling right now, things can get better. Whether you want to understand more about how you’re feeling and find ways to feel better, or you want to support someone who’s struggling, we can help.
  • Somerset Parent Carer Forum – The forum carries out activities for the benefit of Parent Carers and families of children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) in Somerset. The work is focused on enabling families to have a voice, to have the information to support their children’s needs and enabling families to support each other.
  • Parentline – A telephone service run by Somerset County Council’s Education Psychology Service aimed at supporting Somerset’s parents and carers whose children are facing challenges self-harm, sleep problems, anxiety, self-isolation and other concerns – to use the service, email EPShelpline@somerset.gov.uk with your name, the name of your child’s school (or advise your child is home educated) with dates and times you are available for a phone call. Alternatively, phone 01823 357000.

For more information and support go to: Somerset children & young people : Health & Wellbeing : Bulletin (cypsomersethealth.org)