Children’s Mental Health Week is an opportunity for all of us to talk openly about mental health without fear or shame, to share our stories and to call for parity of care. The focus on young people this year should act as a catalyst to empower families, schools and communities to take action so our babies, children, toddlers and teens live mentally healthy lives; seeing no divide between body, mind and spirit.
There are many things that impact on our mental health. For children and teens the love, care and conditions in which they are raised have a fundamental impact on how they feel and who they grow up to be. We have seen first hand the impact on young lives of growing up with bullying, shame and derision. It is well researched that bullying can lead to depression, anxiety, self harm and suicidal ideation. But the good news is it doesn’t have to be that way, it’s not inevitable that bullying leads to mental ill-health and there is hope.
Kidscape, the UK’s longest running anti-bullying charity, provides practical support to children and families facing a bullying situation. Our one-day ZAP workshops focus on building confidence and supporting children and families in a safe environment. Children who come to ZAP report a drastic reduction in experiences of bullying and over 90% report improvements to their mental health:
"Before I went to ZAP, I wasn’t very good at standing up for myself but after I went to ZAP it just really helped me. I was able to just block bullies out and if I needed to I could stand up for myself and that made my life a whole lot happier."
We’re not powerless, and we all have a role to play in looking after the mental health of children and young people. Children need to sleep; they need movement and fresh air, to eat well, to learn and play in equal measure, to feel part of a safe, nurturing community that allows them to be themselves and to love and be loved. And if a child is in a difficult place; if families are struggling to cope, they need timely and appropriate interventions and medical care. We all have a role to play in creating this world. Join us in making a child’s load easier to bear and the future brighter.
ZAP workshops for children impacted by bullying (available online and in the community)
ZAP workshops bring together children facing a similar situation and teach a range of tools to increase assertiveness, build confidence and help manage bullying situations.