Child Mental Health Week: Help Spread The Word

19 February 2015

Child Mental Health Week

Did you know that it's child mental health week?

Me neither. But this BBC News story is a good starting point for explaining why we should all pay more attention to mental health when it comes to our kids. Michael Buchanan reports:

Maisie has autism but her problems escalated when her father died. 

She didn't cope well, so Sally took her to see a child psychiatrist. 

Aged 11, Maisie disclosed she was feeling suicidal. Family life became much more difficult. 

Within months, Sally discovered her daughter self harming, leading to the then 12-year-old being taken to a children's mental health hospital in Stafford, 130 miles from their home in Hull.

Watching your child suffer with mental health issues doesn't bear thinking about, and Sally's experience paints a worrying picture of inadequate support and too few resources.

Organised by the charity Place2B, this is the first Children's Mental Health Week, and its aim is to raise awareness of the benefits of getting adequate mental health support for childre at the earliest possible opportunity. Children's Mental Health Week is also about encouraging parents to talk openly with children about their feelings, and about highlighting how to get help.

For starters, did you know that 3 children in every classroom have a diagnosable mental health problem? What about the fact that half of those with lifetime mental health issues first experience symptoms by the age of 14? But, happily, children are less likely to suffer from serious mental health difficulties later in life if they receive adequate support at an early age.

The Duchess of Cambridge is Patron of Place2B and you can watch a video in which she outlines her support for the charity and its Children's Mental Health Week here.

I definitely plan to start talking to my kids about their mental health. It's not something I've ever considered doing before but we chat about their physical health frequently, so why not mental wellbeing?

What do you think?

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