With rising concerns about the mental resilience of children during lockdown, this year’s UK Children’s Mental Health Week, run by children’s mental health charity Place2Be, will encourage children to express themselves together online.
Starting on 1 February 2021, the annual event has greater importance than ever as indications of stress and depression among young people become more evident.
As the event website says, ‘With schools partially closed and lots of uncertainty, children and young people’s mental health has never been more important.’ So, the charity has produced a series of schools and parents’ packs for primary, secondary and Welsh schools on the theme ‘Express Yourself’. The resource offers activities and teaching aids to help isolated children connect and express themselves through arts and creativity. ‘Self-expression is a great way to relieve yourself of stress and free your mind,’ says the information pack. ‘Self-expression can help you to reflect on your life, actions, decisions, relationships, beliefs and thoughts, rather than keep them buried deep down.’
Music participation is one of the key examples given by the Children’s Mental Health Week website as a route to help children engage and express themselves with the Gareth Malone online choir and the BBC Lockdown Orchestra cited as examples of sharing music online. Singalongs and dance as self-care are just some of the ideas suggested as good ways to de-stress children and give them a sense of engagement. ‘Research show that people feel more positive after singing to music than they do just listening,’ the website says.
The www.tes.com educational website has joined in with the event, offering wide-ranging resources in conjunction with the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Resources’ Mentally Healthy Schools project.