Children's Mental Health Week 2018

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This week sees the launch of Children's Mental Health Week 2018 (5-11 February 2018) by national children's mental health charity Place2Be. Place2Be is the UK's leading children's mental health charity providing in-school support and expert training to improve the emotional wellbeing of pupils, families, teachers and school staff.

As part of the launch for this years awareness, Her Highness The Duchess of Cambridge got involved to provide this message to us all.

As someone who has experienced depression as an adult and as a volunteer youth worker over many years, I understand how important it is for us all to recognise the pressures that our young people are up against and how their mental health can be affected.  It is funny isn't it?  If we get sick or break a bone we get the medical services involved, but for most of us who are unfortunate to suffer some kind of mental illness, we rarely seek help, thinking that we are alone and that no one understands enough to be able to help us.

Stimuli that affects mental health are so broad for our young people.  It can start from something as simple as feeling inadequate when they see others on social media pretending that their lives are
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perfect.  Maybe a young person doesn't quite look the same as all those 'perfect people' on Instagram and wonder what's wrong with them, not seeing for themselves how beautiful their diversity is and how much potential is straining to be unleashed.

As someone who provides life coaching to teenagers from time to time, I know that pretty much anything could spark a journey into poor self esteem and then onwards into poor mental health.
I am working with more and more young people who suffer from poor self-esteem and confidence because they are dyslexic and are not meeting the criteria for performance that is forced upon them in education.
When children or young people start to feel inferior because all their friends are doing well in SATs, GCSEs, A-levels etc then this can lead to poor mental health outcomes without the most appropriate intervention.

So I am thrilled to see Place2Be raising awareness about children and mental health.

If this is a topic that is interesting to you then you may be pleased to know that The SEN Jigsaw Conference, taking place in April, is presenting a workshop on Mental Health and Specific Learning Difficulties.  If you have a child or you are supporting a child with special educational needs then come and see Jennie Lawton talk about this really important subject.

I recently interviewed Jennie about her upcoming workshop...

Jennie, please could you tell our readers a little about yourself?

Hello my name is Jennie; I both have personal and professional experience of the effects of complex conditions such as dyslexia, ASD, ADSD, ADHD, sensory impairment and many other neurodiverse conditions. I understand how such conditions affect anxiety, confidence and mental health within children and young people. I have suffered with dyslexia myself and worked with children and young people for 11 years with complex learning difficulties, as a school counsellor, delivering mental health workshops as a one-to-one/family counsellor alongside schools, CAMHS, social care and other professionals. I have focussed on the day-to-day challenges children, young people and families face when working with neurodiverse conditions.

Being dyslexic and having struggled throughout school life, I have a keen passion and level of understanding of the difficulty and challenges faced within the area of mental health and conditions around SEN. I have experience with children and young people when they don’t quit fit in to the norm of society. My 11 years of experience has been working with children and young people, both non-communitive with service learning difficulties and disabilities with complex needs.

I have trained over the years to gain more understanding of how best to support children, families and professional in this area having worked a long side schools, teachers, senco workers, CAMHS, social services and many more professionals.

Why do you do what you do?

I believe that given the right conditions, time and space for learning and growing, children and young people gain confidence and understanding of how to become more aware of their own emotions. In addition, I believe they can understand the condition and how it affects them. I believe this can be done on a one-to-one basis alongside family and within small group settings, this supports young people and children reach their full potential despite the obstacles being put in their way.

What will your workshop be about at the SEN Jigsaw?

My workshop will be about supporting children and young people in learning more about their own emotion and why they behave / respond in the way they do. My workshop will build confidence and awareness to help self-regulate emotions.
I will explain the importance of individuality, why we are all unique, different and how best to support individuals together and independently.

What will your delegates take away from your workshop (in terms of learning)?

The delegates will take away A better understanding of the importance of individuality, a better understanding of how to support children and young people in this area.

I promise to deliver this in a very sensory creative way, with the use of all learning styles.

The SEN Jigsaw Conference has a wide range of talks and workshops that focus on aspects of SEN for a child, providing the latest information and research that you can use to support your child.  Read on to check out the lineup for the day.
Book your ticket today - Click here.