Stockport: putting children's and young people's mental health first

Stockport Family, Beacon Counselling and education settings across the borough have teamed up to create a new Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week.

Stockport: putting children's and young people's mental health first

It’s vital that children and young people understand mental health just as well as physical health. The new Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week for Stockport aims to make this a reality.

The week will encourage conversations around simple ways to look after your mental health, as well as share information about the free support available.

Children and young people, parents, teachers, and any other individuals who play a strong role in a child’s life are invited to get involved. Schools and colleges across the borough will be provided with assembly and lesson plans to use, and a series of free educational webinars for parents, professionals can be found on the Stockport Events page.

The week is also a major opportunity to let children and young people speak for themselves. Youth groups across the borough have been approached to share their experiences, and a competition (inviting 0 to 18-year-olds to design an image for use on future emotional wellbeing and mental health materials) will run until the Easter holidays.

Councillor Colin Foster, Cabinet Member for Children, Family Services & Education said: “The Awareness Week is about making sure every young person knows the importance of mental health, the basic ways to look after themselves, and if needed, how to seek help and support. Childhood is such a formative time for mental health, so we need to make sure the message is shared early and widely.

“We also know that the children and young people in Stockport are switched on. We want the week to act as a stepping-stone, helping to create a better two-way conversation between them and the adults in their lives. We can all learn from those who have experiences and knowledge around how mental health support could be better.”

Though the week is primarily focused on awareness-raising, work is also underway by Stockport Council to introduce more support in schools and improve services for those children and young people who are in need.

Benefits from this first Awareness Week won’t stop in February: the insight gathered over the week will feed into long term plans, ensuring mental health plays a stronger and stronger role in education, family life, and communities.

More information about the Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week can be found by following Stockport Council on Facebook or Twitter using #ChildrensMentalHealthSPT.