Most children will go through childhood with good mental health, however, around 1 in 10 children and young people may experience difficulties with their mental health at some point in their young lives.
Children’s emotional well-being is just as important as their physical health. Good mental health allows children and young people to develop the resilience to cope with whatever life throws at them and grow into well-rounded, healthy adults.
At Kingswood, we are seeing a growing number of children with emotional difficulties and are having an increased number of parents coming to us to ask for advice or support for their child.
There are a number of factors that can make a positive contribution to the mental health and well-being of children and young people, including:
To help develop positive mental health, children and young people also need to:
There could be many reasons why a child may experience difficulties with his/her mental health and these are often complex and can be related to, or as a result of, certain events or changes in his/her life.
At Kingswood we have multiple measures in place to support children who may be experiencing emotional difficulties. These include:
-Ensuring all staff are aware if a particular child is struggling emotionally at a given point in time, enabling every member of staff to keep a careful eye out on the child
-Keeping up communication with parents/carers, so that any changes (both positive or negative) can be fed back
- SENCo/Leadership team get regular feedback from staff on how emotionally vulnerable children are progressing
-Specific sessions available with our trained Emotional Literacy Support Assistant (ELSA- Mrs Terry), for those children with a high level of need (this may include approaches such as Drawing and Talking, Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) based intervention programmes and individually tailored sessions to target specific mental health difficulties)
-Referrals for additional professional support for the child/family, through Surrey services such as CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services), our school nurse or link Educational Psychologist or Specialist Teaching Teams (STIPS)
If children have a warm, open relationship with their parents, they will usually feel able to tell them if something is troubling them. One of the most important ways parents can support their child is to listen to them and take their feelings seriously. They may want a hug; help to change something, practical strategies, or just someone to listen.
Most children will usually be able to cope during times of emotional difficulty. However, if your child is distressed for a long time, their difficulties are impacting their home or school life, or if they are repeatedly displaying behavious which are out of character, then you may wish to seek further support or advice from either school, or your child’s GP. Most of the time, support and actions that will be recommended are not complex and often involve the family as a whole.
If there are professionals supporting your child, information about them and their family will be kept confidential. However children and young people also have the right to privacy if they do not want to talk to you about their conversations with professionals who are working with them.
Children and young people can also seek help on their own, either by ringing a helpline or by approaching a professional directly, but your consent is usually needed for them to get medical care if they are under 16.
Additional advice and information about supporting your child’s mental health and well-being can be sought from the following organisations and there is a 'sign posting' document for parents to refer to as well:
Contact a Family
Mental Health Foundation