From 06-12 February this year, the theme was #alittlekindness.
Statistics were highlighted in tweets and posts. If you’ve read any of my stuff you’ll remember that 1 in 10 children struggle with mental health issues (3 in every classroom). That includes issues like conduct disorders, ADHD/ADD, anxiety , depression and autism.
The NSPCC released stats that 50,000 children called Childline last year about mental health issues. It is reported that a shocking 45% of youngsters in care have mental health issues. Government statistics are that where parents have a mental health difficulty, 1/3 – 2/3 of children in those families will also have a difficulty. 75% of all lifetime cases of mental illness begin by age 18 years, with around 50% beginning by age 14 years.
Many want young people to have better access to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services and I agree in general, but a lot of young people will not have needs at a clinical level. CaMHS is after all the equivalent of adult psychiatric services, so an equivalent is that not all the 1 in 10 UK adults with anxiety and depression need those services. So the question really is about availability of different levels of support..
Clearly these issues are not just for #childrensmhw, and neither is #alittlekindness.
This Post: Discover
‘Discover’ and children’s mental health
I’m not talking about Discovery today just because it’s next in the alphabet series I’m building! It is part of the work I do with young people and adults in my Finer Families Formula (which goes live over the next day or so) because it is highly relevant to children’s mental health.
For me, a big issue in working with people to help them overcome their challenges is the universal issue of how we get ‘stuck’ – in thought patterns and behaviours that don’t serve us well but we find so difficult to shake off.
Essentially if we grow our awareness and discovery, we can learn to ‘do more of what matters‘ (and so by definition ‘do less of what does not serve us‘).
You’ll know I’m an advocate of Mindfulness techniques. These are evolving all the time but essentially I hold to the purpose that the great Jon Kabat-Zinn began in his work with health patients in 1979 who fell through the gap in services or whose symptoms were not responding to traditional treatments. I think that is a parallel with children’s mental health issues today. Jon Kabat-Zinn described the application of Mindfulness as:
‘… interior resources deep within ourselves, innate to us as human beings, that can be tapped and utilised – such as our lifelong capacities for learning, for growing, for healing and for transforming ourselves.’
He explains such transformation may come about:
‘directly out of our ability to take a larger perspective, to realise that we are bigger than who we think we are.’
That takes awareness and discovery.
Discovery and Young People (and Adults)
So first of all we want our young people (and/or us) to be aware of our current thoughts, feelings and behaviours. We can notice the values and beliefs they are based on (when we are challenged it might include those negative thoughts like ‘I’m not worth it’, ‘I Can’t …’, and ‘I want to behave better but keep messing up’. You know the stuff.
We can then notice where trying to control these thoughts, feelings and behaviours has got us – nowhere if we are stuck!
By increasing our Mindfulness practice we can be more in the present moment. That helps us detach from our circles of thoughts and feelings and behaviours. This gives our heads space to become more aware of what really matters to us – we might take more notice for example of nature, our food, good relationships etc.
We can then be more aware of what we truly value and believe (not what we’ve been told to value or been told about ourselves).
Then, we can do more of what serves our true values and beliefs and less of that rubbish stuff we do.
Remember: we don’t have to sit lotus-wise for 3 hours a day to accomplish this. Little things we try each day add up.
Remember: the two types of Mindfulness practice:
- Formal practices – time set aside just for mental attention exercises including what we recognise as meditations such as the body scan and mindfulness in movement;
- Informal practices – within everyday practices of our daily lives, such as mindful eating and noticing.
Remember: I am building, through this year’s A-Z list, what I hope is a useful guide to getting more out of Mindfulness. Check out my previous posts here: http://suball.co.uk/category/blog
So far in this series I have looked at key points in helping us towards our goals:
…. And next time?
Way To Go:
It’s going to be a busy year.
Via the Facebook button, like my page for notification of updates and when I post the next in this series. I will also post info on the programmes I am bringing out this year. You will also be able to schedule appointments from that page.
I am working on my first newsletter for a (hopefully fun) look at some of the most current issues and news stories as we go through the year – the mental health and schools issue is rumbling on for example, and I’ll look at a current trend in Mindfulness practice. If you wish to subscribe, please use the reply/comment form below – If I don’t have your details, I can’t email you the newsletter :(.
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