Our mental wellbeing has never been more talked about, we are moving into an era where not only our physical health, but also our mental health is being acknowledged and considered when making choices about what we do and how we live our lives. At Active Gloucestershire we are advocates for moving more to support our wellbeing.
1 in 6 children aged five to 16 were identified as having a probable mental health problem in July 2020. One of the key focuses of we can move is to support young people to get more active as we know what a positive impact this can have on their mental health.
When you struggle emotionally, feel low, lack friendships or experience low self-esteem it can be hard to step into something new. Add in anxiety, behavioural or anger issues and being in a place that is unfamiliar and potentially judgemental can stop you before you even get started.
If you’re looking for activities for children who experience mild to moderate mental health issues, consider the environment around the activity and not just what they want to do. We have put together a few things to look for that we’ve found whilst working with young people in Gloucestershire.
What to look for in an activity:
- It has to be FUN! We underestimate the importance of play in our work - often when we think about mental health, we focus on how to support a young person with strategies, developing trust and setting boundaries. Yet the single most important element that all activities should be is fun. You can hear more about the importance of play via our recent podcast here - https://wecanmove.net/blog/Podcast-The-importance-of-play
- A welcoming space and a good introduction; one that is personal and tailored to the people joining in, where new members are made to feel welcome and involved.
- Where you are able to step in slowly to the activity; the emphasis is on fun and participation and you can join in at your own pace and where you are supported appropriately and where needed.
- Where you are treated with care but not kid gloves; having your hand held can be crucial to start with, yet it needs to be a place that will gently encourage and nudge towards a greater challenge and out of your comfort zone.
We know it takes time to find out if a place is good for you and you won’t always get it right first time. Please remember what is great for one person may not be the same for another, regardless of the recommendation. Accepting this is part of the process. Take the time to look for things to do that light you up. Try out a place more than once and don’t be afraid to say no if it doesn’t fit your needs, just switch and do something else instead. There is something out there for everyone and we have seen the hugely positive impact that can be had on mental, social and physical health
For more information please see:
Young minds - https://www.youngminds.org.uk
Gloucestershire Young Minds Matter - https://www.ghc.nhs.uk/our-teams-and-services/cyp-glos/young-minds-matter/
Mind support - https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/for-children-and-young-people/
Did you know?
1 in 6
children aged five to 16 were identified as having a probable mental health problem in July 2020.
Less than 1 in 3
young people with a mental health condition get access to NHS care and treatment.
of young people with mental health needs agree that the Covid-19 pandemic has made their mental health worse.