CSCP 5 Minute Briefing - Children's Mental Health Week 2022

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CSCP 5 minute briefing

mental health week 2022

Growing your voice

A small conversation about mental health has the power to make a big difference.  We know that the more conversations we have, the more myths we can bust and barriers we can break down, helping to end the isolation, shame and worthlessness that too many of us with mental health problems are made to feel.

Importance of Words

importance of words

Words are really important for helping us to express ourselves – how we are feeling, what we need etc.  They can be spoken, written, sung, shouted or whispered! Verbalising our feelings help us to regulate our mood, self-sooth, reflect on how we are feeling and give some sense of release.

Helping children and young people to use their words will help them to navigate and share their feelings better. So what can we do?

Name them! How many feelings can you name? Happy, sad, scared? That's a good start. Can you name some more? How about playful, joyful, calm? Mad, upset, worried. Confused, lonely, nervous. Grateful, glad, cozy. Loved, friendly, peaceful. There are so many feelings to name. Try coming up with some of your own that mean something to you.

No matter how you feel — good or bad — it's healthy to put your feelings into words. Talking or writing about feelings helps us feel close to people who care. It helps us feel better when we're sad or scared. Putting feelings into words helps us use self-control when we feel mad or upset. 

Be honest! It’s ok not to be ok sometimes – be us old or young, sharing how we are feeling makes a huge difference. You don't have to talk or write down about every feeling you have. But noticing your feelings and saying how you feel and why is good practice – whether you are a child, young person, parent/carers, teacher, professional or . The more you do it, the easier it gets. Talking about your feelings is a healthy way to express them. And when you have difficult feelings you need to talk over, you'll be ready.

Power of the written word! Using books or poems or lyrics to talk about thoughts and feelings creates many opportunities to talk about what people are thinking and feeling. Write a diary or feelings journal, write a poem or song – it doesn’t have to be perfect, or even make sense for anyone else, but the expressing of your feelings this way can help us reflect on how we are feeling. Why not right a positive action plan or a list of what makes you feel better or your goals and aspirations. Find a quote that really inspires you or makes you feel better and repeat it everyday when you get up in the morning.

The best way is to practice putting emotions into words, a skill that helps us feel closer to the people that matter. Make it a daily practice to share feelings with a friend or family member. You could share something that's quite personal or something that's simply an everyday emotion.

Just like anything else in life, when it comes to emotions, practice makes perfect! Remind yourself there are no good or bad emotions. Don't judge your feelings — just keep noticing and naming them.

What is available around you?

In Cumbria, we have access to lots of libraries! Books are a great resource for entertaining yourself and learning something new. For example, on your feelings and worries. Currently they have books available called ‘Reading Well’ which provides information to help people understand and manage their health and wellbeing through self-help reading. The books cover common mental health conditions including anxiety, depression, phobias, and some eating disorders. There are three books available: one for young people’s mental health, one for long term conditions and one for younger children. 

  1. Reading Well for young people ‘SHELF HELP’ provides information and advice for 13 to 18-year olds. The book list contains information about issues like anxiety, stress and OCD, and difficult experiences like bullying and exams. The books have been chosen by young people and health experts.
  2. Reading Well for long term conditions provides people living with long term conditions and their carers with expert endorsed health information and self-management support. The book list covers general information on living well with a long term condition, titles on specific conditions (diabetes, arthritis, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), asthma, heart disease, bowel conditions and stroke), symptom-based titles (mental health and wellbeing related to living with a long term condition, sleeping difficulties, fatigue and pain management) and titles for family and carers.
  3. Reading Well for children recommends reading to help children understand their feelings and worries and cope with tough times. The books have been chosen by children, carers, health experts and librarians.  The booklist is targeted at children in Key Stage 2 (aged 7 to 11) and includes a wide range of reading levels to support less confident readers and to encourage children to read together with their siblings and carers.

Additionally, there is an extensive range of digital resources that can be accessed from home available on the Cumbria County Council website here.

These include access to e-audio books and e-books, comics, magazines and newspapers, online courses, research, driving theory test practice, historical newspapers, family history and local studies. Please visit the website to see the full range of digital services there really is something for everyone!

Where can I go if I need help?

There are lots of services and support out there for people who may be struggling in these difficult times, such as:

Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health Pathway

Carlisle and Eden Mind 

E-School Nurse - 5-19 Public Heath