It’s Children’s Mental Health Week with Pocket Family Psychologist

This week is Children’s Mental Health Week. The campaign this year is centred around ‘Growing together’.

We love this year’s theme because it acknowledges that when we come together, we can all become stronger and grow. In recent years, the value of teamwork has really come to light. From checking in on our elderly neighbours over the garden fence to delivering food parcels to the vulnerable, the pandemic has really made us rethink our individualistic way of life. 

Our children have not been able to experience this connection in the same way. Homeschooling has stopped them catching up with friends at lunchtimes, afterschool activities or staying for tea at a friend’s after school. Parents have been super-stressed and frightened leaving them less able to make their children feel safe and secure. The Coronavirus Pandemic has even taught our children to fear getting physically close to others! These things are devastating for child mental health.

We know that our children have been struggling and we hear you. So here we have a message to our children.

It wasn’t quite part of my plan
To lock you inside for safe-keeping
I understand it’s been really tough
The fear of germs if you don’t wear a mask
I never imagined your youth would have such little meaning
It wasn’t quite part of my plan
The homeschooling has made you grow up so fast
Having to complete spellings alone with Mummy in a meeting
I understand it’s been really tough 
Birthday parties and playdates, a thing of the past
Grandma's hug a longed for feeling
It wasn’t quite part of my plan
I imagine there are things you’d like to ask
‘Why does school not realise the support that I’m needing?’
I understand it’s been really tough
Keeping your family and friends safe has been a huge task
But your love and humour has kept us all believing
It wasn’t quite part of my plan 
But darling you have been more than enough

Perhaps the wise lesson of the pandemic is that we, and especially our children, are so much more adaptable and resilient than we first believed. Life will never be all sunshine and rainbows but as the old saying goes, we must learn to dance in the rain. So, how can we work together to help our young people to grow from their losses in the pandemic?

Start a conversation and discuss your experiences too. What was painful and what did you handle well? Remember to model self-compassion, empathy and a non-judgemental attitude.

Coronavirus was so painful for us all but together we can start to grow and rebuild. 

If you are child is struggling with anxiety or anger take a look at our 6 week online programme for parents and children to complete together, learning to befriend and tame big emotions.

Until next time, 

Pocket Family Psychologist 

Written by Ellie Harper

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"Dr Andrea Shortland’s session for MediaCom on a children’s mental health was incredibly informative"

“Dr Andrea Shortland’s session for MediaCom on a children’s mental health was incredibly informative. During the second period of lockdown and home-schooling; parents and children found themselves again in a period of upheaval and transition. Many parents and carers were extremely worried about their children’s mental health and their own ability to be present and engaged whilst also playing the role of teacher and care giver. Dr Shortland gave attendees an insight into how many parents were feeling; tips on supporting children and helping them cope whilst studying from home and also managing their mental health. She also helped us realise the importance of taking care of ourselves in order to effectively support our children. It was such a useful session that we realise it was also pertinent for not only children’s mental health but also adults! We will be holding another session with Dr Andrea and MediaCom soon.”

Avelon Thompson, MediaCom (following a parenting workshop)