While schools are closed due to the fresh nationwide lockdown, looking after our children’s mental health and wellbeing has never been as important.
That’s why Children’s Mental Health Week was started - to highlight the importance of young people’s mental health.
Starting on February 1, the week-long event run by charity Place2Be features a range of free digital programmes focusing on boosting mental wellbeing for children and parents to get involved in at home.
Here’s everything you need to know about Children’s Mental Health Week - including activity ideas.
What is Children's Mental Health Week?
The first ever Children’s Mental Health Week was launched in 2015 by kids’ mental health charity Place2Be, which provides mental health support and training in UK schools.
Now the week is in its sixth year, the charity is aiming to encourage more children and adults than ever to get involved.
It believes that children should not have to face mental health problems alone.
Around three children in every primary school class have a mental health problem, according to the charity, and challenges can range from bullying in school to bereavement.
To mark the beginning of Children’s Mental Health Week on 1 February, The Duchess of Cambridge, who is patron of Place2Be, recorded a video message to encourage children and parents to share how they feel, particularly during lockdown.
And the charity has teamed up with BAFTA Kids and Oak National Academy to create a free assembly for all schools and families to watch, featuring pupils and celebrities discussing the week.
Hosted by Blue Peter’s Lindsey Russell and CBBC Presenter Rhys Stephenson, with appearances from actor Matthew Lewis and Doctor Who star Jodie Whittaker, the free assembly explores the creative ways that children can share their thoughts and feelings.
When does the week last until?
Children’s Mental Health Week runs from Monday 1 to Sunday 7 February 2021.
Schools, youth groups, organisations and individuals from all across the UK are expected to take part.
What is the theme?
This year’s Children’s Mental Health Week theme is “Express Yourself”.
Place2Be describes expressing yourself as “finding ways to share feelings, thoughts, or ideas, through creativity.”
The charity says the aim of this year’s mental health week is to encourage children, and adults, to explore the different ways they can express themselves.
It suggests that this could be through a variety of activities, like art, music, writing, poetry, dance, drama, photography or film.
Place2Be says: “It’s important to remember that being able to express yourself is not about being the best at something or putting on a performance for others.
“It is about finding a way to show who you are, and how you see the world, that can help you feel good about yourself.”
Are there mental health activities for kids?
Children can express themselves through a range of activities that make them feel good, according to Place2Be.
The charity has a variety of activities and resources on its website for both schools and parents to run for their kids.
It includes activities for primary and secondary children, free virtual sessions run by experts in acting, art, writing, content creation and dancing, and games including Draw Your Feelings and Squiggle Game.
There’s also top tips for children, and adults, to learn to express themselves.
Alternatively, Twinkl has published free Children’s Mental Health Week taster packs for teachers to use.