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Take steps inside and out this ‘Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week’ (4-10 February 2019)

Take steps inside and out this ‘Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week’ (4-10 February 2019)

Parents across East Lancashire and Blackburn with Darwen are being encouraged to take steps to help their children be healthier for their physical and mental wellbeing.

Most of us associate our health to physical wellbeing and looking after our bodies however, in order to achieve overall health, mental wellbeing and having a happy mind is equally important.

Mental health problems affect about 1 in 10 children and young people. They include depression, anxiety and eating disorders, and are often a direct response to what is happening in their lives.

Dr Rakesh Sharma clinical lead at NHS East Lancashire and NHS Blackburn with Darwen Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) said:

“Most children grow up mentally healthy, however more children and young people are now having problems with their mental health than 30 years ago.

“This could be because of changes in the way we live now and how that affects the experience of growing up.

Things that can help keep children and young people mentally well include:

• being in good physical health, eating a balanced diet and getting regular exercise
• having time and the freedom to play, indoors and outdoors
• being part of a family
• going to a school that looks after the wellbeing of all its pupils

Other important factors include:

• feeling loved, trusted, understood, valued and safe
• being interested in life and having opportunities to enjoy themselves
• being hopeful and optimistic
• being able to learn and having opportunities to succeed
• having a sense of belonging in their family, school and community
• feeling they have some control over their own life

Dr Sharma added:

“It is very important for parents to look out for the signs in their children and talk to their child about things which are of a concern to them and speak to a professional for help and advice sooner rather than later.”

“If your child is having problems at school, a teacher, school nurse, school counsellor or educational psychologist may be able to help.

“Otherwise, go to your GP or speak to a health visitor. These professionals are able to refer a child to further help.”

Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) are a group of professionals from different organisations who work together to help children and young people with emotional or behavioural wellbeing difficulties. These professionals might be from the statutory, voluntary or school-based sector, such as an NHS trust, local authority, school or charitable organisation. CAMHS can help a child or young person on a range of concerns such as anxiety, hearing voices, trouble sleeping and feeling sad and much more.

East Lancashire Child and Adolescent Service (ELCAS) is another specialist mental health service for children and young people up to the age of 16 years. ELCAS provides a number of different services such as Specialist outpatient service, Intensive support team and much more.

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