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Children's Mental Health Week: 'Express Yourself' is the theme of this year's event organised by Place2Be

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It's more important than ever during the current pandemic restrictions to look after our children's mental health and wellbeing, says a leading charity.

As part of Children's Mental Health week, free resources are being made available to help youngsters and their parents.

Children's Mental Health Week is being staged this week
Children's Mental Health Week is being staged this week

It is estimated one in six school-aged children in the UK now has a diagnosable mental disorder, an increase from one in nine in 2017.

Effective support from an early stage not only helps children and young people cope with challenging life circumstances, but can also prevent problems from escalating and becoming more serious in adolescence and adulthood.

This year's event, which has been organised by Place2Be, starts today and runs until Sunday, February 7 with the theme of 'Express Yourself'.

Place2Be is a children’s mental health charity with more than 25 years’ experience working with pupils, families and staff in UK schools.

It provides mental health support in schools through one-to-one and group counselling sessions and uses tried and tested methods backed by research.

What can children do to boost their mental health? Picture: iStock/PA
What can children do to boost their mental health? Picture: iStock/PA

The week is a chance for parents, carers and teachers to access free tools which can be adapted for home schooling, the classroom, online lessons or independent learning.

Parents can also sign up for email alerts and add dates to their calender about what's going on during the seven day campaign.

KentOnline will be running a series of online articles during the week on what children can do to boost their mental health, like staying in touch with friends, art and craft activities, other exercises which can be done at home and even what foods are good eat to keep young minds healthy.

Meantime, Place2Be has teamed up with BAFTA Kids and Oak National Academy to create a free assembly.

It will be available to all schools and families from 9am today and features pupils and well-known faces discussing the theme of Children’s Mental Health Week.

Stuart Collins is director of integrated children's services at Kent County Council

It also shows ways that children and young people can get involved at home.

It is hosted by Blue Peter’s Lindsey Russell and CBBC Presenter and Place2Be Champion Rhys Stephenson.

As the majority of children are continuing to learn at home, the assembly will provide an easy way to bring children together (virtually) with a positive message about the power of creative self-expression.

Famous faces and contributors are also taking part live from their homes.

The theme for Children's Mental Health Week is 'Express Yourself'
The theme for Children's Mental Health Week is 'Express Yourself'

If you would like to sign up for email alerts and when the assembly goes live, click here.

Other resources and tools on offer during the week include activity packs to download for children of all ages.

Some of the packs share with youngsters how they can find ways of expressing themselves.

Tips include how to share feelings, thoughts, or ideas, through creativity.

The week is aimed at getting youngsters doing activities that make them feel good. Stock picture
The week is aimed at getting youngsters doing activities that make them feel good. Stock picture

This could be through art, music, writing and poetry, dance and drama, photography and film, and doing activities that make them feel good.

The free resource packs will help children and young people to explore what it means to 'Express Yourself'.

While taking part in online activities during the week, youngsters can also fundraise for the charity.

A Your Children's Mental Health Week Fundraising Kit is available online and is a chance for children to get involved.

They will not only be raising important awareness, but also vital funds to help more children and young people get the emotional support they need.

Children's Mental Health Week is this week
Children's Mental Health Week is this week

The kit is packed full of great resources like decorations, posters, a conversation starter activity and fundraising tips and ideas.

If your child would like to get involved in the fundraising, click here.

Towards the end of the week there will be an online conference on Creativity as a healing tool: Connecting mind, body & imagination.

The event, which starts at 2pm to 4.45pm on Friday, is a chance for people to discover how creativity can be a life-changing tool for youngsters.

There is a cost to join the conference, to find out more click here.

Place2Be also has some other resources to help families and schools during the week.

These include primary and secondary school packs, quick and easy activity ideas that families can try at home and top tips for parents and carers to help children express themselves.

To help further spread the word, the charity also has social media toolkits, which include free graphics and pledge cards to help people and youngsters show their support for the campaign.

To find out more about the week and the Place2Be charity, click here.

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