The ‘Other’ Pandemic – Children’s Mental Health
If you are interested in learning more about Forest school and it’s benefits for cognitive development, health and wellbeing and/or The ‘other’ pandemic – Children’s mental health, we have two zoom workshops coming up on: Thursday 3rds December 7pm-8:30pm and Saturday 21st November 0930-1100, respectively.
Why is children’s mental health such a concern for us?
I have worked with families for over 15 years. Initially, with babies, where I witnessed the struggles of parent’s – adapting to life as a new ‘Mum’ or ‘ Dad’. The pressures, the milestones, the sleepless nights, the never-ending dependency, the loneliness. These same challenges remained when I started working with pre-schoolers. But a few more struggles were added in, the tears, tantrums and a little person with his/her own mind. And with it the judgement of others, the never-ending days in which nothing seemed to be ‘achieved’. I also noted many young children who looked like the ‘weight of the world’ was on their shoulders – Shy, unconfident, anxious, concerned – during years where they should be worry-free.
As I began working with older children and teenagers – with my own children at these ages – I started to see a really different struggle. The parents maybe a little more in control, busy helping with homework and the physical challenges of being a parent in a busy world. What I saw was shocking. Not all, but too many children, struggling with confidence, self-esteem, resilience, anxiety, depression and mental health. The world is a tough place for children with the never ending pressures of society, social media, expectations, milestones, goals, friendships and academic pressures.
It made me both sad and angry
Questioning how modern day society could be damaging children’s wellbeing? It should be improving, surely, aren’t we supposed to evolve and become more resilient? I have a very personal interest in mental health issues and spent a lot of time researching. To try to find the causes of this apparent ‘epidemic’ and in doing so, I discovered some horrendous facts:
- Hospital admissions for self-harm by children aged three to nine in England increased by 27% between 2011-2017
- One in eight children aged between 5-19 in England has a diagnosable mental health condition.
- Suicide is the number one cause of death for young people aged 5-19 in England and Wales,
And if this wasn’t enough reasoning for our concerns…
This week, we were again reminded of the importance of our sessions and what we offer to children. An initially, heartbreaking encounter with a child so frightened, she ran away from me. A bit of time and space, no pressure to join in, no walls to create stress and a patient and supportive parent….
Two hours later, a child who says ‘I feel like I am in a dream’, when asked, why? She answered; ‘because I am having such a lovely time.’ Then the following: ‘I want to come here everyday’, ‘I have made lots of friends, including even you and Leanne’, ‘Thank you for having me’. And a mum, so utterly grateful for help that it broke our hearts…. but honestly. What an amazing feeling.
There are few things better than the feeling you get when you have done nothing but provide a space for a child to find confidence, discover themselves and overcome their struggles.
The health, wellbeing, resilience and confidence of our kids are our future. Help them grow.
For more information or to attend a Forest School session, Contact Us Now!