As Children’s Mental Health Week draws to a close, I thought I’d take a moment to mention my own work and offer a reminder of how important it is that our awareness of the issue doesn’t end here.
Before we’d even heard of Covid, there was a lot of media coverage about the unfortunate situation regarding our children’s mental wellbeing in the UK. Reading such statistics such as “1 in 6 children and young people have a diagnosable mental health problem.” (Place2Be), it was clear that something needed to be done.
After the twelve months we’ve just experienced, I can’t begin to imagine how much that figure may have changed.
Knowing that the annual death figures last year were the highest in a century is tragic. How many children have been touched by that? There was a report on the news this week that mentioned one school having experienced fifty bereavements in just their setting. I’ve heard a number of stories similar to this and it’s heart breaking.
If a child does not deal with a bereavement at the right time and in the right way, it can effect them all the way through to adulthood (I can testify for that!) When researching child bereavement for my book Love Will Never Die, I found the stat “41% of young offenders experienced bereavement as a child.” (Winston’s Wish). This is staggering and yet could be lowered significantly with help.
I wrote Love Will Never Die from my own experience of being bereaved as a child. It is very direct and honest and uses the correct language. I have heard such amazing feedback from families who have used it but the best of all is when I hear from the children.
A couple of years ago, whilst exhibiting at an Armed Forces Day event, I met a boy who told me he’d used one of my books. When I asked which one he pointed to Love Will Never Die. I asked why he’d needed it and he told me that his Dad had died. He went on to tell me how much he’d enjoyed the book and how much it had helped. He must have only been around seven.
His grandfather was with him and, when he realised it was me who had written the book, showered me with thanks because of how much it had helped them all. A moment that really will stay with me forever.
If you know a child who has lost someone close to them, please take a look at Love Will Never Die. Even if it happened a short while ago, it could still prove to be incredibly useful. There are some internal pages on my website should you wish to take a closer look.
Alongside this, I have also written a book to help children with emotions: At Times I Get These Feelings. It has been hailed a “must have” by a number of professionals working with children and their mental wellbeing.
Under the current circumstances, many children will be missing their friends, missing school and generally feeling quite anxious (my youngest certainly is). This book covers twelve emotions including Sad, Worried, Kindness, Happy and Angry. It talks about each emotion and what it may feel like. It also gives hints and tips on how to help with certain emotions and has exercises that are tried and tested to help.
Again, you can view some of the internal pages on my website.
During the first lockdown last year I partnered with a mental health charity, The Kaleidoscope Plus Group, and together we are offering a discount on these two books by using the code KPG40 on my website.
I hope that this week, and my introductions to the other authors, has given some insight and information on what is available to help children with their mental health. And, this is just a scratch on the surface! There is so much help out there, it’s just about knowing how to find the right book or right organisation that can offer the right help.
If you’re looking after a child or children right now, be it as their parent/carer or as a teacher or otherwise, and you need help, never be afraid to seek it out.
I wish you all well over the coming months and thank you for engaging this week with my posts for Children’s Mental Health Week. Look out over the coming days for a book giveaway across my social media!
All the best.