Mental Health Awareness Week 2023

For Mental Health Awareness Week 2023, the focus is Anxiety. The reality is desperate when we see exceptionally high numbers of children and teenagers that are struggling with their mental health and, in particular, different forms of anxiety.

The latest NHS Digital statistics show that 1.62 million people were in contact with mental health services at the end of July 2022. Moreover, a record number of more than 400,000 children a month are being treated for mental health problems.² A figure that sadly has been constantly rising.

This measure represents the number of children and young people accessing mental health services in the last 12 months. The data points below represent a 12 month rolling period, so people reporting in December 2021 would have accesssed services within 2021 (between January 2021 and December 2021). Click to visit the NHS Mental Health Services Power BI Dashboard

“There is an unprecedented crisis in young people’s mental health, further evidenced by these record numbers of young people needing help from the NHS… The record high number of children and young people receiving care from the NHS tells us that the crisis in young people’s mental health is a wave that’s breaking now.”¹

Olly Parker, Young Minds, 2022

The research highlights the severity of mental ill health that is being seen in schools and how services are overwhelmed in meeting the huge levels of need and we know that it is in desperate need of radical change, funding and all important raising of awareness to make a difference for young people and society as a whole.

“What we’ve seen across our frontline services in UK schools is rising numbers of young people struggling with anxiety, self-harm, eating difficulties and suicidal thoughts.” Catherine Roche, Chief Executive, Place2Be

Anxiety is commonplace, it is an emotion that we all experience from time to time in our daily lives. It is a natural response to the ever-changing and uncertain world around us. It can come and go and can be in response to a range of situations and circumstances such as stressors at home, school, or in the workplace and within the wider community.

However, when it impacts our quality of life, when it becomes pervasive and overwhelming to the point that it affects our wellbeing and mental health, that is when we need support and a network around us.

We know that mental health professionals and schools work hard to support children and young people with anxieties and mental ill health and it is vital that staff in schools have the right training and support to provide qualitative interventions that enable children to talk about their lives and experiences and gives them the social and emotional skills to navigate life and learning.

Children with Mental Health problems

In support of Mental Health Awareness Week, we want to share our ‘Calm me’ programme to help children with anxiety.

Our programme ‘Calm me’ helps children to understand and recognise the signs of anxiety within themselves and others and helps them to express and make sense of what is happening to them physiologically and emotionally.

Through a range of activities and social and emotional content children can develop ways to regulate themselves, seek reassurance from trusted adults and can begin to feel held and reassured through the difficulties they may be facing.

Having some helpful ways to express, regulate themselves and share their thoughts can be powerful in helping children feel understood and able to survive through difficult times. Through the discussion and activities, the children have opportunities to:

  • recognise and notice the sensations in their body and how they are feeling inside,

  • understand what is happening inside them when they are worried or anxious,

  • explore ways to self-regulate when they are feeling worried,

  • develop the language to express how they are feeling and know how to ask for help,

  • discover ways to help them feel calm.

Mental Health Awareness Week is “… an ideal time for us all to think about mental health, tackle stigma and find out how we can create a society that prevents mental health problems from developing.”³

Mental health is everyone’s responsibility and we certainly can all make a difference.

We invite you to explore our wellbeing intervention resource and to help all children to feel happier, heard and connected.

ELSA Resources Hamish & Milo Calm me - Anxiety

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