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Help give a voice to children and young people across the UK in Children’s Mental Health Week, from 5-11 February 2024.

75% of mental illnesses start before a person’s 18th birthday. With most long-term mental health problems beginning in adolescence, there’s a growing need for support for young people. Since 2019 the programme Bloom has developed young people’s resilience through life’s unexpected turns and transitions. In Children’s Mental Health Week, the importance of mental health support from a young age is highlighted.

Children’s Mental Health Week is a mental health awareness week that empowers, equips and gives a voice to all children and young people in the UK. 

Children’s Mental Health Week was launched in 2015 and each year, hundreds of schools, children, parents and carers take part. Now in its 10th year, our theme is ‘My Voice Matters’.

In this newsletter I want to emphasize the importance of Children’s Mental Health every day.

New data released by Place2Be to launch Children’s Mental Health Week has revealed that more than half (55%) of children and young people in the UK say they face barriers in seeking mental health support.

In a YouGov survey of 1,045 8-16 year olds, and in a series of focus groups, children and young people shared their views and experiences of:

mental health influences

barriers to seeking support

expressing emotion

feeling heard by adults.

When asked “Which of these usually stop you from asking for help when you are struggling with your feelings?” 55% said something would stop them, including:

feeling uncomfortable speaking to someone they do not know (29%)

wanting their struggles to remain a secret (19%)

being scared about their friends’ reactions (20%)

being concerned about their families’ response (16%).

Alongside this, 34% respondents said nothing would stop them from seeking support.

Children and young people said “it’s embarrassing to talk about” and they didn’t want to worry others, with one saying “it’s my issue alone and no one else’s burden to carry”. Several others commented “I struggle to put into words how I am feeling”, and “I have difficulty explaining what it feels like”. One child noted “I don’t want to disturb my mum when she is on the computer” whereas another child mentioned “I am worried about how other people around me might react”.

The survey also revealed that children and young people’s top worry was schoolwork and exams (nearly 60%), followed by physical appearance (45%) and climate change (42%). Almost 40% reported worrying about their family not having enough money.

Ways to Support Children with worries about school and homework.

We know that schoolwork can be challenging and stressful for children and young people, and exams can be a particularly worrying time for secondary and high school pupils. As parents and carers, it can be difficult to know what we can do to support children. Place2Be’s Regional Clinical Lead for London and West, Cecilia Corbetta, has shared her top tips for supporting your child if they’re feeling stressed about schoolwork or exams.

Acknowledge their feelings

Rather than just focusing on their behaviour, ask your child about their feelings and validate these. For example, if your child is nervous in the run-up to results day, or feeling frustrated about their homework let them know that these feelings are entirely natural and to be expected.

If your child is disappointed with their grades, then acknowledge this, rather than trying to ‘jolly them along’ too quickly.

Make yourself available to listen

Sometimes your child may not want to talk, and it’s important we don’t force them to have a conversation they don’t want to have. Make yourself available but don’t pressure them to talk.

You may find that your child opens up in situations where they feel less pressure – for example when you’re in the car on the way home from school, or during a walk.

Look for signs of stress

Stress can present differently in everyone. Signs of stress could include not sleeping or sleeping more than usual, losing interest in food or eating more than usual, being irritable, having headaches or stomach aches, being negative, feeling hopeless, or not enjoying activities they previously enjoyed. If you notice your child is struggling, ask them what you can do to help them.

Be reassuring

Make it clear to your child that, whatever their grades, you love them for who they are – rather than the results they are awarded.

Set up the right routines for homework

After school, many children are exhausted, hungry and need to re-connect with parents (although they might not be able to put this into words!). It’s common for children to try and ‘put off’ homework.

Homework time often coincides with the end of the day when parents can be tired and wanting to get it ‘out of the way’ as quickly as possible.

Setting up some routines can help make homework a more positive family experience:

sticking to a regular time for homework will help to reduce your child’s protests or the pressure you might feel to nag them

doing homework can be hard work and it requires energy. If your child is hungry or tired, let them have dinner or a snack first

find a place for your child to do their homework that is away from distractions (such as the TV)

make sure they have the equipment they need before they get started.

Help them unwind after exams or a challenging piece of work

Find ways to help your child unwind after each exam or difficult piece of homework, so they don’t dwell on things they could have done better or differently. You and your child could watch a film or enjoy your favourite meal together.

As we approach ‘exam season’ I hope some of the tips above will help you in supporting your child in the upcoming months.

What is a Mental Health First Aider? is a free 30 minute zoom session where I explain exactly what the role entails and how you can support, this is a great introduction to the course, and is an opportunity for you to ask any question you may have about the course. If you are interested in the session, email us on

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