CSCP 5 Minute Briefing - Children Mental Health Awareness Week 1-7 February 2021 DAY 1

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CSCP 5 minute briefing

CMH week 2021

Today is the start of Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week. This year the theme is ‘Express Yourself’ over the course of the week we will be publishing a daily 5 minute briefing with tips and how to access support.

Getting Support for Mental Health

Having good mental health means that we can cope with the normal stresses in life. With the challenges brought by the pandemic, we may notice that we and those in our family start to feel anxious, angry, overwhelmed or tearful in situations that we would have ordinarily managed without a second thought.

The current situation has brought traumatic experiences, social isolation, a loss of routine and a breakdown of formal and informal support, leaving many people experiencing poor mental health for the first time. It is important to acknowledge that your thoughts and reactions to the pandemic are normal and you are not alone.

Maybe your child is:

  • struggling with concentration or listening
  • appears more sensitive or is displaying unusually difficult behaviour
  • is becoming more distressed and anxious

This could be a response to the current situation and is also a normal response.

An Action for Children study has reported 1 in 3 parents /carers felt out of their depth when it came to supporting their child’s mental health during lockdown. It is important to remember that you ‘can’t pour from an empty cup’ so taking care of your own mental health is paramount to supporting the mental health of your child.

Barnardo’s MyTime is the Tier 2 Emotional Health and Wellbeing Service in Cumbria supporting 5-18year olds with mild to moderate mental health presentations, but not all young people experiencing mental health issues will require a referral into a mental health service. Simple things such as maintaining a healthy sleep routine, a balanced diet and regular exercise along with providing periods of uninterrupted one to one attention can be an affective early intervention and prevent escalation.

Support for Children & Young People

If you are a young person who needs some support or you are working with a young person who needs some support here are some organisations you can contact:

  • KOOTH – is an online counselling and emotional well-being service for children and young people, available free at the point of access. Chat and forums - it's safe and anonymous.
  • Young Minds - is a charity providing online advice and support children, young people, parents and professionals.
  • Papyrus UK - Charity for the prevention of young suicide - hopefully they can provide support for parents in dealing with the young person's self-harming and suicidal behaviour and ways.

Support for Parents, Carers & Families

MyTime are offering information sessions every day this week for parents and carers giving informal practical advice and ideas that can help support the mental health of them and their child through the pandemic. For session times and sign up information please click here.

Express Yourself Entries

Here are some of the entries we’ve had from Cumbrian children and young people, showing and telling us about what’s helped them during COVID.

elisha sammie oliver

It's not too late if you want to submit an entry.  In Cumbria, we are asking children, young people and others to share with us the ways they express feelings, and thoughts about what has helped them cope or what they have learned in this time from the COVID pandemic or maybe what they wished they had known at the start. there are a numbers of ways to get involved. 

  • draw a picture
  • write a poem
  • produce a short piece of writing (200 - 400 words)
  • make music, write a song (audio only)
  • send us a photo of an object that helped you cope with ups and downs (something you made; your goldfish; houseplant; favourite book/game)

Please send your contributions in digital format to Lucy.Pye@cumbria.gov.uk by the end of Thursday 4th February. All entries received will be entered into a prize draw