This week (10th – 16th May) is Mental Health Awareness Week 2021, hosted by Mental Health Foundation Scotland. The theme for the week is ‘Nature’ and across the country, people will be celebrating the mental health benefits of being around nature in their local community in a range of digital and creative ways.
To show our support for Mental Health Awareness Week, Children’s Health Scotland Ambassador, Rory Crawford, recorded a very special #StoryWithRory, in which he read the wonderful children’s picture book, ‘Where the Wild Things Are’ by Maurice Sendak. This story is all about a young boy called Max who goes on an exciting adventure into the wild where he meets all kinds of weird and wonderful creatures – a very suitable story for the ‘Nature’ theme of this week!
Supporting the mental health of children and young people, as well as their parents and carers, is essential to the work of Children’s Health Scotland. Through our online Self-Management Service, SMS:CONNECT, we have worked with over 60 children and young people who are living in Scotland with long-term health conditions throughout the last year. In this Programme we aim to increase participant’s confidence and self-esteem by encouraging them to share their experiences with others, and facilitate discussions around topics such as stress, anxiety and self-care – all of which are essential to promoting positive mental health.
Izzie Turley, Children’s Health and Wellbeing Services Coordinator said,
Promoting a group environment in which children and young people feel comfortable talking about mental health is a key focus of the SMS:CONNECT Programme. We encourage them to share their own experiences, both positive and negative, and facilitate activities and discussions that teach them relaxation techniques and ideas for self-care. We know that children and young people who are living with long-term health conditions are more at-risk of suffering from poor mental health, which is why it is essential that we provide them with a safe space to explore this topic and support them with resources and information to help them to manage, not only their physical health, but also their mental health.
Part of the SMS:CONNECT Programme includes encouraging participants to create a Digital Story about something that is important to them. Jonathan took part in our Winter 2021 Programme and created this brilliant video about what mental health means to him and how he looks after both his physical and mental health.
Our SMS Programme is partly funded by Children in Need – a huge thank you to them for allowing us to continue to provide this important service to children and young people across Scotland!
To find out more information about our online SMS:CONNECT Programme, and our in-person Self-Management Service for children and young people living in the Lothian area, visit the services section of our website, or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org