Speaking to Children about Mental Health with NSPCC
This week, people up and down the UK have been marking Children’s Mental Health Week (7-13 February). It’s wonderful to see so many people coming together to highlight the importance of children speaking about mental health - after all, just like physical health, we all have mental health which requires care and upkeep. This year’s theme is ‘growing together’ and is about growing emotionally and finding ways to help each other grow.
For us at the NSPCC, this week is an opportunity to reflect on the work we do year-round with children, parents and carers to ensure that young people can access advice and support when they need it.
But we know that for many children, this is not the reality. Last year alone, our Childline service delivered over 73,000 counselling sessions from young people concerned about their mental or emotional health (making up 37% of all sessions).
Every time a child reaches out to us, we know that it’s a steppingstone to make sure they receive the support they deserve. But many of these calls could be preventable as our collective duty to care for children’s wellbeing can prevent mental health problems from developing in the first place. That’s why we continue our work with adults and in schools, with local authorities and governments to equip us all with the tools and knowledge to offer support and combat stigma surrounding mental health. Childline’s mental health resources for children and young people teaches them about the importance of caring for their wellbeing and what forms of support are available, whilst our online guidance for adults supports parents and carers to spot signs of depression and anxiety in children and how they can help.
Speaking to your child about mental health and wellbeing is a conversation many parents find difficult to have. But whether it’s through books and storytelling or finding the right time to talk to them about mental health topics, speaking to children from a young age is key to encourage them to speak openly about issues they may be facing. You can learn more on our website about spotting the common signs of mental health problems or how to support a child. If you’re worried about a child, you can also contact our Helpline for more support.
You can also find more resourced on the Children’s Mental Health Week website: https://www.childrensmentalhealthweek.org.uk/