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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

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

Can You Give An Hour? #CharityTuesday

Posted on 18th October 2011 in #charitytuesday/ childline

I’ve noticed a charity initiative currently being promoted by Heart FM – which is basically suggesting that as we all gain an hour, when the clocks go back on the 31st October, if some of us gave an hour (either in time or money) to Childline then we could make a huge difference.

It breaks my heart to hear that not all the calls to Childline get answered. Just think, if we all donated one hour of our salaries this problem could be solved overnight!

Here is the appeal being run by Heart:

It is that time of year again that we all look forward, the clocks go back and we all gain an hour!

If you normally use your extra hour to sleep in, walk the dog or pop to the gym why not consider something a little bit different this year.

Click HERE to calculate how much you earn per hour. It’s very simple all you need to do is calculate your hourly wage on Heart’s calculator and make a difference by donating!

Alternatively why not give 60 minutes of your time and do something in that hour to raise money for Have a Heart?  You could have a cake sale at work, a sponsored silence at school or have some friends round for coffee at home.  There’s loads more suggestions on Heart’s A to Z of Fundraising Ideas.

A staggering 700,000 abused, bullied & worried children will contact ChildLine by the end of 2012, and without your help ChildLine can’t be there to answer or their call or be online.

NSPCC Christmas Wishes #festivefriday

Posted on 10th December 2010 in #festivefriday/ childline/ children/ family/ NSPCC

As Christmas draws alarmingly near, I can’t help but turn my thoughts to children who may not have all that they should. I don’t mean in terms of presents, I mean in terms of love, support, warmth, care and family.

The good people at NSPCC have launched a Christmas Wishes campaign and I’d like to help spread the word.

If you go onto their website you will see lots of ways to help other than the obvious ‘donate money’ although let’s not forget about that option too. I set up a standing order to the NSPCC years ago, not a huge amount, but every month it means that I make a small contribution to their work. It’s easy, effortless and it means I don’t forget.

You can send a letter from Santa.

You can create a personalised Christmas ecard.

You can create corporate Christmas ecards.

You can donate by shopping.

You can make a donation to the NSPCC and a friend or family member of your choice will receive a personalised card and festive bauble which they can hang on their tree as a reminder of their unique gift.

P is for… Pink Ones

Posted on 26th September 2010 in childline/ dakota fanning/ outnumbered/ Tyger Drew-Honey

Didn’t feel I could actually call this post Fantasy Children but that is essentially what it is! Bear with me. Put down the phone – don’t call childline just yet!

I recently totally swiped a blogging concept from Liz – “The lovely Liz Jarvis from @LivingWithKids recently asked who our fantasy husband would be.”  I changed it slightly to ask the boys who their fantasy wife would be.

Now I’m wondering if it’s a bridge too far to ask who your fantasy children would be?

Needless to say ALL of our own children are entirely perfect and would of course be our chosen children. So we are assuming that you keep your current offspring but get to choose a new one.

This is easy for me, as I have a house full of boys my fantasy child would be ‘a pink one’ (as girls are known round here). Before you ask why I don’t just have another baby, we have 4 boys between us and believe me that is plenty.

So, my fantasy child would be very blonde, very cute, very girly. Possibly Dakota Fanning – War of The Worlds. Although I have to say I would be more likely to end up with a daughter like Karen from Outnumbered :)

Who would your fantasy child/ren be?

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