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child abuse

Where Is The Help? #WMHD2015 #MentalHealth

Posted on 10th October 2015 in child/ child abuse/ childline/ children/ depression/ family/ swearing

Screen Shot 2015-10-10 at 14.08.55It’s impressive to see so much focus on mental health today as part of #WMHD2015, how we can help others and how we can help ourselves.

I have seen several posts online from famous people in support of this day and the message behind it, which is an important step towards ending the stigma and shame that so often goes hand in hand with the words ‘depression’ and ‘mental health issue’.

But where do you go for help if you currently feel like even getting up out of bed or out of a chair is like wading through porridge. How do you ‘go out and make new friends’ if you don’t find anything likeable about yourself and therefore can’t imagine for one second why anyone else would enjoy your company. How do you put yourself out there if the previous end result was that you stood in a room wrapped in a cocoon of fog while everyone around you was vibrant and engaged and fully embracing that elusive casual happiness that seems as unattainable as a lottery jackpot?

This post is focussing on children and teens as if we don’t start reaching out to change their attitudes and improve their self-confidence and self-worth then this situation is only going to keep on growing and self-perpetuating.

So for children and teens in the UK, where can they go for help? If the generation above them is full of people with no tolerance and no understanding then they will be met with a wall of ‘don’t be so pathetic’ and ‘oh for god’s sake, just get on with it’ not forgetting ‘man up’.

I personally think there needs to be a new programme throughout schools put in place to deliver grass roots help and support to children and teens, building their confidence and self-esteem in such a way that the earliest niggles of self-doubt may well never develop into anything further.

I’ve seen that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are championing #WMHD2015 and I hope that with their backing and support there might finally become a time for our children and our children’s children when mental health can reach a parity with physical health. A time when children will grow up with a sensitivity to others so that they are an inbuilt peer support system for each other.

You don't have to hit to hurt

However angry you are with a child, shouting and using abusive language is never the answer.

I have found it fascinating on #EducatingCardiff to see how the teens change their behaviour once the adults change theirs; the commitment and patience shown by several of the staff at Willows High is a joy to observe and surely should serve as an example to others in the profession. This ties in with the quote ‘You don’t have to hit to hurt.’

It can’t be coincidence that shouting, punishing and belittling students makes their attitude and behaviour deteriorate (along with their self belief and sense of safety and wellbeing), whereas praise, encouragement, trust, friendship and support makes them flourish and re-engage with their work, friends and the world around them.

If children were built up and nurtured at home and at school then they would stand more chance of growing up to be strong, confident, caring adults who would in turn build up and nurture their own friends, family and children; there is a great quote by Frederick Douglass ‘It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.’

So what is there in terms of support for this age group? The local mental health services are all suffering cut backs and only the more severe cases are getting through to access care. (Needless to reiterate if children were loved and nurtured appropriately in the first place this would vastly cut the numbers who would need to be referred.)

For adults there are many services available, like Blurt.org

For children and teens there is of course Childline, our local YMCA runs a free counselling service for this age group and there are several Facebook support groups out there but it is important to check that it is a supportive one as there are also several very scary pro suicide groups too.

There is also Big White Wall which offers an interesting take on support and is well worth looking into, I believe they have an app too. Speaking of apps, here is a list of apps that may help with wellbeing.

With support it is a case of finding what works for you. Joining a club or an evening class may be the solution for some people, but having secret online peer support is what works for others. Don’t give up if the first thing you try doesn’t work.

If anyone can suggest other support options in the comments that would be really helpful.

With love – and remember – you are worth it, you are a good person and you are doing fine x

The $#*! Kids Say

Posted on 12th April 2012 in child abuse/ NSPCC

Join our campaign

NSPCC. Cruelty to children must stop. FULL STOP.

HELP PREVENT CHILD ABUSE TODAY.

Over 50 per cent of people who contact the NSPCC have been worried about a child for over a month, often not getting in touch in case they’re wrong. The NSPCC need to reassure everyone: if you’re concerned, it’s always right to call. A month can be a lifetime for a child.

You can protect more children by sharing your Facebook status with the NSPCC for a week. It’s free, and each day a different message, like the one below, will encourage people not to wait if they are concerned about a child.

Watch and share this film

‘The $#*! Kids Say’ film encourages people to trust their instincts and call if they suspect something is wrong. You can protect more children by sharing the video with your friends.

If you’re worried about a child, need advice or want to talk, DON’T WAIT UNTIL YOU’RE CERTAIN.

Call the NSPCC anytime and anonymously on 0808 800 5000

 

Child Abuse – Do The Right People Get Questioned or The Polite People?

Posted on 5th April 2012 in A&E/ child abuse

A very lovely friend of my has recently taken her 2 and a half year old child to A&E after the child fell on the trampoline and then seemed to have a lot of pain in his leg.

Anyone who knows me well will know that I’m quite picky with my friends and I certainly wouldn’t call someone lovely if I didn’t mean it. She is a very genuine person, very giving, good fun and a brilliant mother. Her son is the absolute picture of health, always well dressed, very loved and he eats more fruit in a day than I eat in a month!

How it happened:

It is a large trampoline and both my friend and her child were on it. Her child bounced and fell forward, on the trampoline, onto his knees.

The child cried but which my friend thought was odd but made no more fuss than she would have done after falling down any other time. My friend carried her child indoors and he had his normal nap. After the nap he said his leg still hurt so he wanted dinner on the sofa; my friend checked his leg and there was no bruising and no swelling, so she assumed he was just playing for sympathy as children do.

After dinner she took him off the sofa to start getting ready for bath and bed, however immediately that he put weight on his leg it was obvious that there was a lot of pain.

My friend then rang NHS Direct for advice who recommended going to A&E ‘just to be sure’.

At A&E my friend booked her son in, explained at the counter what had happened and that there was no bruising or swelling and apologised if she was wasting their time.

By this point her son was happily in his pushchair and singing. To cut a long story short, at the first examination by a doctor it became apparent that they didn’t believe my friend that the accident had happened how it did. She was questioned repeatedly and aggressively. The doctor said the she had fallen on top of her son, she explained again what had happened and the doctor added “but then you fell on him”. He then decided that her son had fallen off the trampoline. She explained again, adding that it had a safety net, but the doctor just kept repeating himself. My friend was terrified.

She was then told to wait in a room with her son while they ‘looked at the x-rays’ – she waited for 2 hours in this room with her son on an uncomfortable chair. It was well passed his bedtime, he was tired and wanted to go home. My friend queried with reception a couple of times why they were waiting so long and reception admitted they had no idea.

At 10pm she was told that her son was to be admitted overnight. But first there were new people to talk to her, with yet more questions. Her son had eczema – they queried why the backs of his knees were so sore. She explained about the eczema and explained what bath oils and creams they used but the questions kept coming. They queried why his nappy was so full. My friend explained that she’d only bought one spare one with her and hadn’t planned on being in A&E for so long! They exchanged looks and then began questioning again how the accident had happened.

My friend was very very scared at this point. Her husband was away with work and she literally sat and thought how she was going to explain to him that their son had been taken off them!

This continued for hours until at 1am her son was admitted to a ward.

The next day a new person came to see her and the questions began again. The new person said they had been called by staff at A&E to investigate as the injury didn’t ‘add up’. Fortunately for my friend this person also had a 2 year old and very quickly ascertained that the accident was AN ACCIDENT!

I fully understand and appreciate that A&E staff are the front line and have to make an immediate assessment of the situation presented to them. But it must have been obvious after the first set of questions that their fears were unfounded?

I can’t help wondering if my friend hadn’t been a very sweet, polite, middle class woman whether she would have been put through all this. Was she simply an easy target for some ‘box ticking’ by the A&E staff? Had she been uninvolved, rude or aggressive, with an angry spouse and another few kids in tow I wonder if her son would have been quickly patched up and sent home?

 

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