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Children's Mental health week Feb 5th - 11th 2024

This years focus for children's mental health week is "MY VOICE MATTERS" with Place2be, encouraging schools, families and carers to take part with activates to enable young people to feel heard and share what is important to them.

Childrens mental health

My Voice Matters is about empowering children and young people by providing them with the tools they need to express themselves.

When we feel empowered, this can have a positive impact on our wellbeing. Children and young people who feel that their voices are heard and can make a difference have a greater sense of community and self-esteem. This year, Place2be want children of all ages, backgrounds and abilities to be empowered to work together to create a positive change for their mental health and wellbeing.

"During Children’s Mental Health Week we want all children and young people, whoever they are, and wherever they are in the world, to be able to say – and believe - “My Voice Matters”."

Statistics from young minds

  • One in six children aged five to 16 were identified as having a probable mental health problem in July 2021, a huge increase from one in nine in 2017. That’s five children in every classroom (i).

  • The number of A&E attendances by young people aged 18 or under with a recorded diagnosis of a psychiatric condition more than tripled between 2010 and 2018-19 (ii).

  • 83% of young people with mental health needs agreed that the coronavirus pandemic had made their mental health worse (iii).

  • In 2018-19, 24% of 17-year-olds reported having self-harmed in the previous year, and seven per cent reported having self-harmed with suicidal intent at some point in their lives. 16% reported high levels of psychological distress (iv).

  • Suicide was the leading cause of death for males and females aged between five to 34 in 2019 (v).

  • Nearly half of 17-19 year-olds with a diagnosable mental health disorder has self-harmed or attempted suicide at some point, rising to 52.7% for young women (vi).

What is mental health?

Everyone has mental health, it affects how we feel, think and act. It impacts our emotional regulation, our motivation and physical health. When our mental health is good we take on more challenges and activities, have more energy and want to reach of our goals. However when our mental health declines, achieving day to day tasks can feel overwhelming, we lose interest in the things we once found enjoyment in and have less desire to go out and try new things or challenge ourselves. A decline in mental health can lead to unhealthy lifestyle habits/ behaviours and have a negative impact on many aspects of our lives.

It comes as no surprise that the COVID-19 pandemic has been reported to have had a negative effect on the mental health of young people. With feelings of isolation and loneliness at an all time high during that period, the changes in family dynamics, lack of peer support and access to activities and experiences that serve as an emotional outlet and an increase in screen time socially and for educational purposes.

We saw a huge uptake of home workouts centred around engaging adults into physical activity, but with no grass root sports or clubs running for young people and less online workouts available for younger children, physical activity dropped to 45%, this figure has returned to 47% which was last reported in 2019- check out the full 2022-2023 report from sport England for current activity rates in young people.

With this in mind, is there more that we can do in the fitness industry to help increase physical activity in young people, thus supporting better mental health long-term?

  • Reaching out to schools to offer clubs

  • Offering engaging workouts for younger children and teens by looking at the latest trends and how to use them to increase physical activity

  • Delivering mindful/ holistic workouts

  • Increase social connections outside of school with group exercise

  • More family orientated workouts so that adults and young people can enjoy being active together strengthening bonds and lines of communication

What are your thoughts? Are you currently delivering exercise to young people and working to support mental health? We want to hear from you and share your stories on our blog. Get in touch

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