It’s never too early to think about mental health – Coventry City Council
For Children’s Mental Health Week (7–13 February) Coventry and Warwickshire partners are raising awareness of support health and wellbeing support for our infants, children, and young people.
This year’s theme for the awareness week is ‘growing together’, run by children’s mental health charity – Place2B – the week is an opportunity to discuss with young people how they have grown emotionally and ways in which they can help others grow.
Supporting mental health and wellbeing from conception is important to help give infants the best start in life. New parents deal with a lot of changes which can be challenging, but help is there from those very early days from midwives, health visitors, family centres and voluntary organisations all of which can guide parents and carers to the right support based on their needs.
Supporting both parents is important and NHS has developed an app specifically for dads, DadPad, designed to reduce anxieties and help to build a stronger family relationship. All parents can access a series of free online courses aimed at the different stages of parenthood. They can be completed in your own time and can provide tools to support you and your children.
It’s easy to see infants and children hitting those key physical milestones as they grow, like when they start to crawl, taking those first steps and learning to write, but their emotional growth is important too, especially as they develop, gain more independence, start school and learn to live with life’s ups and downs. Helping young people to build resilience is vital so that they can continue to grow, and even flourish, through the good and the bad times.
CWRise, a family of NHS services led by mental health specialists aims to build resilience and empower children and young people, and the adults in their lives, so they know where to go for support and advice when the going can get tough.
The CWRise website provides helpful resources for parents and carers to help them talk to their child, such as 12 powerful phrases to make talking to children and young people easier and 26 phrases to help calm an angry child and young person – finding ways to communicate on a level that your child understands can help them to handle their emotions more easily. As well as additional online resources for children and young people to help them look after their wellbeing, there are lots of different ways CWRise can provide support including:
- Direct support: group sessions for young people and their parents or carers
- Community-based support for parents and carers through Rise Community Partnerships and Coventry Family Hubs
- 24-hour support through the Dimensions Tool and CWRise website
For anyone under the age of 17 experiencing a mental health crisis, the Rise Crisis team is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (with an advice-only service outside the core hours of 8am-8pm) on Freephone 08081 966798 (select Option 2).
Young people aged 11-25 can also access free, safe and anonymous mental wellbeing support 365 days of the year by visiting kooth.com. They will have access to fully trained and qualified counsellors and emotional wellbeing practitioners (between midday to 10pm weekdays and from 6pm to 10pm at weekends), as well as 24/7 access to moderated discussion forums, magazines and wellbeing articles with tips from young people and the Kooth team. The daily journal also allows them to track feelings or emotions to help promote positive mental wellbeing.
Councillor Patricia Seaman, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People at Coventry City Council said: “At Coventry City Council we feel very strongly that no infant, child or young person should have to face any mental health problems on their own, not just on Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week but it should be a priority every day.
“Ensuring the safety and wellbeing of infants, children and young people is always our priority, but with the effects of the pandemic, with school closures, disruption to education and missing friends, understanding the mental health challenges is of critical importance,
“If you are worried about a child or young person, I would strongly urge you to talk to them about how they are feeling or to talk to the child’s school who will be able to signpost to the best help for them. We want to remind everyone that they matter, they are not alone and there is always support available.”
Councillor Jeff Morgan, portfolio holder for Children, Families and Education at Warwickshire County Council said: “Looking after our mental health and wellbeing is important through all stages of life to help us grow and develop emotionally. As a parent or carer, supporting your own wellbeing will allow you to be the best parent or carer you can be for a child.
“As children grow and develop, supporting their wellbeing is important. Being mentally or emotionally healthy is much more than being free of depression, anxiety, or other psychological issues. Rather than the absence of mental illness, mental health refers to the presence of positive characteristics and Warwickshire services are here to support our infants, children and young people.”
Michelle Rudd, Transformation Lead for Rise, Children and Young People’s Mental Health Services at Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership NHS Trust, said: “It is important to remember that for all of us, at times in life, there will be bumps in the road. Those bumps will mean we need to change direction or seek help to overcome them. It is ok to ask for help and support to overcome these bumps in life. Sharing the journey with others keeps the journey going, no matter how many bumps.
“To children, young people and their families, we say never be afraid to stop and ask for help; also never be afraid to stop and ask if you can help others. Whatever your age, together we are stronger and it makes the journey of life much easier. Coming together and noticing, no matter how big or small, is our biggest defence against struggling with our mental health. Good mental health is togetherness, no matter the bumps. There are lots of resources and support on the website www.cwrise.com, so I recommend anyone who needs help to please reach out and take it. We are there for you.”
If you or someone you know needs further support, then help is available throughout Coventry and Warwickshire for people of all ages.