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Our external appearance does not define who we are: Our thoughts on Children's Mental Health Wee

In honor of UK Children's Mental Health Week, we take a closer look at the newly launched organisation, Place2Be; explore this year's theme of #BeingOurselves; and ask ourselves, "Why is there such a rise in youth mental health issues-- and how can we help!?"

'With one in ten children aged between five and sixteen having a mental health problem’ children’s mental health is clearly something we need to continue talking about. Here at Pass the Crayon we are reflecting on activities which took place recently in the UK for Children’s Mental Health Week, on the week of February 2nd-9th

As a concept, children’s mental health is now gaining wider recognition in the UK, with the theme this year placing emphasis on what it means to #BeingOurselves- celebrating uniqueness, individualism and diversity. Since we are always trying to support children’s uniqueness and mental development here at Pass the Crayon, I will be relaying some information I have found surrounding one of the main organisations active in Children’s Mental Health Week.

One young girl that attended Place2Be discusses her struggle with her confidence levels at the age of eleven. She explains how she had difficulty accepting her individuality and Place2Be helped her by supporting her with learning to accept herself. An adult in a group discussion states how important it is for children to ‘feel comfortable in their own skin’, and goes on to state that increasing use of social media can be a negative trigger factor for this. An ingrained part of modern day society, which was not applicable to children twenty or thirty years ago, and one explanation for the increase in mental health problems among children, is the rise of the Internet- Children are being exposed to the Internet from an increasingly young age, and research shows that this exposure increases feelings of low self-esteem and negative comparison with others.

At a younger age, it can sometimes be difficult for children to understand that how one appears externally does not define who they are internally. But if a child learns to love their individuality it can set them up for a positive view of themselves later in life. This relates to the Duchess’s previous claim that children need emotional support through difficult times in which they lack confidence. The Duchess suggests that as adults if we come together to help children feel happier with their individuality then we can reduce difficulties with mental health later in life.

Here at Pass the Crayon we recognise how important a sense of support is for children’s mental development. We believe in using safe art spaces to allow children to experience and experiment with their individuality. For children, especially those who have had an unstable start in life, it can be a great way for them to develop their confidence- As an individual, and working as a collective.

Lastly, whilst we continue to encourage support for children’s mental health through small organisations, I want to emphasise how important it is to take a holistic view- one which recognises how economic and social factors can affect a child’s mental state. If we continue to educate ourselves on issues surrounding wider societal structures, as well as providing support from the bottom, then there can be a strong foundation for a happier, healthier future generation.

*** Thank you for reading our latest post, and please don't forget to 'like' and share on social media. If you enjoyed reading this, then check out, "The Mind Of A Child", a PTC poem written in honor of Children's Mental Health Week :) ***

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