Children’s mental health week – where to go for help

Alex Gray is Childline service manager and gives her tips on how to improve mental wellbeing ahead of Children's Mental Health Week.

Next week from February 3 to 9 is children’s mental health week.

Mental and emotional health is one of the top concerns that children contact Childline about. This children’s mental health week, Childline is encouraging any young person struggling with their mental health to speak out.

Your mental health

Mental Health is about how you feel about yourself and how happy you are. It can affect your thinking, mood, and behaviour, how you interact with other people and how you cope with what life throws at you.

Feeling stressed and anxious is normal. However, if negative feelings begin to become more regular and affect your daily life, it is important that you seek help.

There are lots of different types of mental health issues including anxiety, depression, OCD and bipolar disorder and it’s important to remember that for each of these mental health issues there is support you can access including Childline. But remember it’s important to get professional help if you’re really worried.

Things to help manage your mental health

There are many things you can do to help improve your mental wellbeing.

Exercise is a great way to help improve your mental health. When you exercise, your body releases chemicals that trigger positive feelings. Exercise can also help clear your mind. Try and find a form of exercise that you enjoy whether that be running, dancing, football or going for a walk.

Helping others, whether that be through volunteering, getting someone a gift, helping your family with chores or giving someone a compliment is also a great way to put yourself in a better mood.

Finally, having a healthy diet and trying something new can also help improve your mental well-being. Accomplishing something you have never done before can fill you with a great sense of achievement and make you feel more positive about taking on new challenges.

How to ask an adult for help

Speaking to a parent, guardian or trusted adult about your mental health can seem tricky but it’s important to tell someone so you don’t have to deal with these feelings on your own.

Before speaking to someone, make sure it is a person you trust. This could be a doctor, teacher, parent or a Childline counsellor.

If you aren’t sure how to start this conversation there are things you can do to make it easier.

You can ask the person you are telling to keep this information private or begin the conversation with something else that mentions the issue you wish to discuss. For example, this could involve something you have seen on TV, Facebook, in a book or even something at school.

To make yourself feel more confident about having this conversation you can also have a think about what you want to say beforehand and start the conversation at a time you feel most comfortable.

If you are struggling to talk to someone face to face you can also share how you are feeling with someone by writing it down or drawing a picture to express yourself.

Any young person struggling with their mental health can also call Childline free and confidentially on 0800 1111. Our trained Childline counsellors are always there to listen, no matter what the call is about.

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