#MyVoiceMatters: Talking about mental health

Our Young Mental Health Ambassadors have been sharing things that they feel represent the ‘My Voice Matters’ theme for Children’s Mental Health Week. Maisie, one of our ambassadors, shares this blog discussing why talking about mental health is important, and what can be done to help.

Talking about mental health: why it’s important and what you can do to help.

Mental health takes an important stance for all ages, in their life, relationships, and development. That’s why it’s important we make young voices heard and encourage them as best as we can to do so.

Every 40 seconds, someone takes their own life. Although this statistic is incredibly overwhelming, it also indicates to us that there is more to be done to help our population. The best place to begin is with the people of today; children who are growing up and are able to help provide better support for the future generations to come, as well as for the current.

Children learn daily in schools about the importance of cells in biology, undertaking calculations in mathematics, even forming part of a football or netball team for their school to keep themselves active. Yet schools could help provide children with better equipped knowledge on the topic that will affect not only how they feel but also their ability to perform well in all of these activities: mental health. NHS research found 1 in 6 children suffer with mental health difficulties, which negatively impacts not only their own wellbeing, but also their personal and academic development.

It is important, therefore, that we as a population encourage young people to talk and learn more about how to help others. Effective education in schools, whether that be a weekly session on wellbeing, or public speakers visiting the school to talk about the benefits of speaking up, helps to develop not only their awareness but also provide them with ideas on how to support themselves or a loved one when suffering.

YoungMinds have published useful guidance when encouraging young people to speak up. Mainly, it is important to remain calm and patient with them and remember that they may not wish to speak up the first time you encourage them to. Being a supportive listener and checking in regularly with them, even just a simple “How are you today?” encourages trust within a relationship and makes a routine of asking how they are. This makes someone more likely to open up when there is something going on.

It’s important to remind yourself and others the importance of your mind. Although setbacks do happen, they make a person stronger, and adopting the right approach to help support each other is fundamental to better cope through harder times. It’s therefore important that we start this education with younger minds.