This week (3rd-9th February 2020) is Children’s Mental Health Week – a hugely important week for encouraging positive mental health within schools, youth settings and at home to ensure the children in our society are happy and mentally healthy.
Organised by Place2Be, the week has been running since 2015, and since then they have focused on a range of themes related to children and young people’s mental health.
The theme for 2020 is “Find Your Brave" which is designed to encourage young people to consider things that push them out of their comfort zone in a positive and constructive way. On the Children’s Mental Health Week website, they also provide some great ideas on ways that adults who deal with young people can encourage these discussions in their settings.
Looking for activities or conversations you can use in your setting to encourage thinking about bravery? Here’s some ideas below:
Encouraging young people to consider what bravery means to them is a great start, as everybody’s understanding of bravery is different. Here are some ways to get started:
1. Remind them that bravery comes in all shapes and sizes, and that what they consider brave may be very different for somebody else.
2. Open up about a time when you have needed to Find Your Brave in a situation, to encourage them to consider their own bravery.
3. Find and highlight moments from films, books or TV where characters have needed to be brave.
4. Praise them for times when they have been brave such as trying a new activity or not giving up on difficult school-work.
5. Reassure them that nobody has to be brave all the time, and that it is okay sometimes to not be brave if it is very difficult.
Ideas for Schools
A Writing Task – encourage your pupils to spend a moment with pen and paper and write about times when they felt like they were brave, this activity could lead on from there and you could perhaps ask some of the students if they would like to share this with the class.
Show and Tell – once they have had time to consider, you could make a Show and Tell occasion of it and invite some of the class to share their written stories with the class. For some pupils, this could be their own way of Finding Their Brave if they are usually a nervous speaker in class.
Reading Time – the Children’s Mental Health Week website contains a list of some good reading materials that you could read with the class. Depending on the age of your class, these books could vary greatly, but below are some examples for varied ages.
Infants: The Lion Inside – Rachel Bright
Juniors: The Huge Bag of Worries – Virginia Ironside
Secondary: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Group Activities – to further the conversation and encourage your class to feel more comfortable talking about feelings and emotions, you could open it up into a group activity where groups of children can brainstorm brave actions and what makes them feel brave. If you have already done the reading activity, you could ask them to base their thoughts on this.
Do you have any other ideas you have used this week to encourage young people to talk about Finding Their Brave? Please share with us and we can add it to our blog!
At the show in May, we will have a variety of sessions focusing on youth and student wellbeing including:
– Managing Major Trauma in Schools with Stef Etherington
– Lead Well – Steps to wellbeing in education with Kate O’Connor & Kelly Hannaghan
– Survival tips for anxiety and depression with Rachel Kingsbury
– Self Injury Myths – Wedge