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  • Holly Clark

Exploring Children's Mental Health

Updated: Apr 6, 2023

This Children's Mental Health Week I have spent some time trying to share some top ways in which we as parents, carers, aunties, uncles, teachers or supporters of young people can promote positive mental wellbeing.


We hear this so often, but I wanted to give some practical ideas. Things we can all take some responsibility for, in making some small changes in our households or classrooms.

In this post I will summarise some of the information shared.

I am also going to share the launch of a new Suicide First Aid for Young People in Schools course that I am proud to be one of a small number of experienced trainers who will be delivering this training on behalf of Suicide First Aid UK.


So, here are some top tips for promoting positive mental wellbeing in the young people in our lives.

Encourage Open Conversation

Communication is so vitally important. To encourage open communication we should try to:


  • Listen actively: Pay attention to what they are saying, without interrupting, trying to fix or offering advice. Show that you are interested and show empathy (this means really trying to feel what it feels like for them.)Create a safe and non-judgmental environment: Let them know that they can talk to you about anything, without fear of being judged or criticised. They won't be told off or criticised for what they tell you.

  • Ask open-ended questions: Avoid yes or no questions and instead ask questions that encourage them to share more information and expand on their thoughts and feelings. e.g. How did that make you feel? What's going on for you?

  • Respect their privacy: Let them know that what they share with you will remain confidential, unless they disclose information that indicates they or someone else is at risk of harm.

  • Be patient: Some children and young people may need time to open up, so be patient and allow them to share at their own pace. It can be helpful to do an activity alongside each other that doesn't involve eye contact. (Think lego, jigsaw, cooking, walking etc.) That can make the conversation flow more naturally!

  • Avoid making assumptions: Try to understand their perspective and avoid making assumptions about their experiences. Remember that how we experience events is all relative to our own frame of reference. It's easy for some of us, with decades of life behind us, to say 'It'll be ok' when the reality is that this may feel like a very big deal to them, as it is relative to their experience. So avoid assumptions!

  • Show interest in their hobbies and interests: Building a rapport with them by showing an interest in their hobbies and interests can make it easier for them to open up and have a conversation with you.

  • Validate their feelings: Acknowledge and validate the their feelings, even if you don't necessarily understand or agree with them. This can help to build trust and create a safe space for conversation.

Foster Resilience

Maintain a Stable and Predictable Routine

Engage in Physical Activity

Limit Screen Time

Promote Positive Self-Esteem

Encourage Healthy Sleep Habits


Suicide First Aid in Children and Young People in Schools

I am delighted to share that I am now able to deliver the new Suicide First Aid in Children and Young People in Schools Course. This is a first of its kind course which supports schools in creating suicide safer school communities.

The sad reality is that every year around 180 children end their life by suicide.

I believe that if every member of staff working with children was trained in how to recognise and respond to suicide risk in young people then this number would be drastically lower.

This course is evidence based, trauma informed, is assured by City & Guilds and is fantastic.

You can read more about the course including its outcomes and how to secure training in your location at https://www.bloomingmind.co.uk/suicide-first-aid-for-schools


Thank you

Finally a big thank you for all the support, likes and shares over the last few weeks.

I am loving getting out to lots of organisations across the country, sharing the message that we can improve the mental health of our workplaces and communities.

Through education and breaking down stigma one conversation at a time.


Please share my posts, the blog, my website or email to anyone you think who would benefit from a conversation with me. I can come and present into your organisation no matter the size.

Have a wonderful weekend and sending my very best wishes,


Holly





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2 Comments


elizabeth clark
elizabeth clark
Feb 18, 2023

I think the course for young people in schools is vital and I am certain you will deliver it in a sensitive manner. My cousin took his own life. It wasn't talked about openly within the family. Which I think this was due to people not knowing what to say, so education is is so important. Good luck Holly and Blooming Mind.

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Holly Clark
Feb 18, 2023
Replying to

Thanks for sharing that Elizabeth. I think we’re gradually breaking down the stigma and the fear of knowing what to say. It’s not an easy transition.

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