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Children’s Mental Health Week | My Voice Matters

Gary Seath 4 months ago

Media Mental Health

Children’s Mental Health Week’s theme is ‘My Voice Matters’.

This year is about empowering children and young people by providing a platform and tools to express themselves to make incredible things happen across the United Kingdom.

It can make a huge difference when children and young people feel that their voices are heard, respected, and valued concerning the topics that matter to them.

When this happens it can lead to meaningful change when it comes to opening wider conversations about many different mental health and wellbeing topics.

Moreover, it can lead to greater numbers of children and young people coming forward to reach out for support to better understand and enhance their mental health.

Unique challenges to mental health and wellbeing

Many children and young people who have engaged with Forces Children Scotland have told the charity that they have faced mental health and wellbeing challenges.

There are many potential factors – from parental deployment, family separation, and growing uncertainty amid rising global tensions to frequent moves that can disrupt educational attainment, friendships, communities of support, and much more.

Young people have said that this can lead to withdrawal from things that they love to do, and can prevent forming new friendships and participating in wider opportunities because they feel a sense of hopelessness, isolated, misunderstood, and alone.

 

Embedding the voice of children and young people in co-developing mental health and wellbeing services.

As a strengths-based organisation, Forces Children Scotland recognises the lived experience of children and young people as the most valuable asset in its decision-making and co-development of projects and services.

Achieved through its Combined | Force Co-production Methodology, children and young people join team members, trustees, and external agency partners to form working groups to co-develop the charity’s projects and services.

Children and young people share their lived experiences, creativity, and ideas that form the inspiration to explore the root cause of many challenging experiences and to identify the most appropriate ways to better understand and overcome them.

That’s how Forces Children Scotland has worked directly with beneficiaries to deliver its Lighthouse Project and Your Mind Matters mental health and wellbeing services.

 

Lighthouse Project

The Lighthouse Project delivers one-to-one and peer support sessions at Queen Victoria School, Dunblane, which is a boarding school for pupils with a parent in the armed forces.

The charity responded to a call from pupils and staff at the school to establish specialised, bespoke mental health and wellbeing services.

This year, one hundred and twenty-four young people have been supported to better understand and enhance their mental health and wellbeing.

In terms of the one-to-one sessions delivered, 91% of pupils improved their respective YP (CORE) scores, and supported through topics including anger, anxiety, friendship & peer issues, problems sleeping, self-harm, and homesickness

100% of pupils attending peer drop-in sessions said that they had found the sessions useful, had enjoyed the activities, and said it had proved helpful to speak to other pupils about mental health and wellbeing topics.

The Lighthouse Project is funded by The Veterans Foundation.

 

Your Mind Matters

Your Mind Matters delivers one-to-one and peer support sessions for pupils from armed forces communities attending Hermitage Academy in Helensburgh.

Many of the project’s beneficiaries have parents based at Faslane Naval Base.

Compared to peers from Army and Royal Air Force families, these children can experience greater periods of family separation, with little or no contact with their serving parent.

In many cases, these children take on additional caring responsibilities at home. This can include duties around the home, caring for their stay-at-home parent or siblings.

Pupils have been supported and shown effective coping strategies to manage many challenges experienced, such as anxiety, anger, exam stress, depression, and self-harm.

Forces Children Scotland has also worked with beneficiaries to co-produce digital mental health and wellbeing resources available now from the charity’s Your Mind Matters Hub.

From podcasts, advice, and information to engaging downloadable help sheets, the hub provides a one-stop shop providing bespoke mental health and wellbeing support.

Your Mind Matters is funded by The Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust.

Want to know more about Force’s Children Scotland mental health and wellbeing services?

Contact us