Welcome to Children’s Mental Health Week!
Child mental health refers to the healthy social, emotional and behavioral wellbeing of young children. Children’s Mental Health week is dedicated to creating awareness about children’s mental health and ways to improve it.
This year Children’s Mental Health Week is from February 1st to February 7th, 2021 with the theme: Express yourself. It’s all about encouraging children to explore the different ways they can express themselves.
Mental health is a topic that is often avoided because of fear, stigma, or not knowing what to say. The stigma around mental health issues prevents people from seeking and getting help on time or at all.
The science of child development shows that the foundation for sound mental health is built early in life. Early experiences which include children’s relationships with parents, caregivers, relatives, teachers, and peers shape the architecture of the developing brain. When we talk about infant/early childhood mental health we mean a child’s ability to:
1. Experience warm and responsive relationships with caregivers
2. Create relationships with others
3. Explore and learn
4. Communicate in play
5. Express and control emotions.
Did you know that disruptions in the early developmental process of a child can impair the child’s capacities have lifelong implications?
COVID-19 brought about a disruption in the way of life of children across the world as there has been a huge change in the learning environment and limited social interaction. According to a report written by www.savethechildren.net, Almost three quarters (74%) of the children reported feeling more worried than before the pandemic, almost 2 in 3 (62%) children felt less happy and almost 1 in 2 (47%) felt less hopeful than before. More than half felt more bored (60%) and more sad (59%) than before the pandemic. Half (51%) the children surveyed reported being deprived of social interaction with their friends and peers- they reported not getting to speak to or meet their friends in person or virtually, during the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus.
The number one attribute of child mental health is for a child to know that a person really cares and is available. All children act out at times and display troublesome behaviors. However, if behaviors seem too extreme and are present in different environments over a period of time, it might be time to seek assistance from a professional.
When should you be concerned?
When Children show clear signs of anxiety, nervousness, withdrawn behaviour, excessive worrying, peer relationship difficulties (isolation), attention-deficit/hyperactivity, oppositional behaviour (does not like to be told what to do), aggressive behaviour, conduct disorder, and depression.
Also, It is important to take note of any significant changes in a child’s usual pattern of behaviour including their eating and sleeping patterns. When the behaviour is distressing to the child and those around him or her, and persists over a period of time or across situations (e.g. at home and at school)
What can you do as a Teacher?
- Do not attempt to diagnose or treat, seek professional help.
- Do not stigmatize
- Speak with the Parents to register your concerns.
- Help ensure a positive, safe school environment
- Encourage helping others
- Explore different ways to help them express themselves
Now more than ever, it is important to ensure we are looking after the mental wellbeing of children and teenagers because of the the impact the COVID-19 pandemic. Often times, when great changes occur, they act as triggers and could take a toll on children’s mental health.
Want to get your staff trained to become Children’s Mental Health First Aiders?
Look no further!
We provide Mental Health First Aid Training every 2 months, But this particular training will be specific for children hence perfect for those who work with them. If you are interested please send am email to firstname.lastname@example.org to book a slot in the next training.
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