This week (3-9 February 2020) is children’s mental health week, and here at Mindset we will be talking about the importance of children and young people’s mental health.

Today, 1 in 8 children and young people have a diagnosable mental health condition, yet 70% have not had appropriate interventions at a sufficiently early age.Mental illness is not a result from bad parenting, but as parents we play a central role that is critical to their recovery and be safe in our hands.

This year’s theme for children’s mental health week is “Find Your Brave”.In this challenging world, learning to cope with life’s little dramas is an important lesson for us all, but bravery isn’t about coping alone or holding things in.

What can you do? Here are a few things we can do to help our children find their brave:

1. Praise your child when they find their brave. It is a well-known fact that children respond better to rewarding desired behaviour, so praise your little ones when they have been brave, open about their feelings or reached out for support. This will help amplify their good behaviour and motivate them to continue.
2. Let them fail. While we all want to protect our children from upset and disappointment, failure is good for kids on several levels. Experiencing defeat and learning to cope with disappointment will build resilience and handle negative outcomes, a skill that’s certainly needed in the big, real world. Trying new things and pushing ourselves out of our comfort zone are all important skills that will boost self-esteem and build better resilience.
3. Talk about when you have had to find your brave. Your little ones are learning from you all of the timeand leading by example will certainly have an impact on how they respond to life’s little dramas.
4. Point out examples of bravery in books and films. Relating to their favourite tv characters or superheroes will help teach them different ways of being brave and show them that bravery comes in many different forms.
5. Reassure that not feeling brave is okay too. There are times where it’s more difficult to be brave and establishing that it’s okay not to be okay and sharing a worry or asking for help is also incredibly courageous. Helping children feel comfortable seeking support is an important skill that can have a transformational impact on their lives. It’s not a weakness to speak up or ask for help, and learning this from a young age will enable them to build self-esteem and resilience for future challenges they may face way into adulthood.