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Children’s Mental Health Week

Human beings change and grow– we do it all the time and in many different ways. Physical growth is easy to see as we grow from babies to children, teenagers to adults. We grow intellectually as we gain new knowledge, skills and understanding at school, and beyond.   

But growing emotionally is also an important part of our development. Things that upset us when we were younger may no longer overwhelm us as we grow and learn to cope with life’s ups and downs. Challenges and set-backs can help us to grow and adapt. Trying new things can help us to move beyond our comfort zone into a new realm of possibility and potential. However, emotional growth is often a gradual process that happens over time, and sometimes we might feel a bit ‘stuck’.

At these times we are reminded of how much we need others in our lives to help us to keep growing. We need our parents and carers, our teachers, our friends and others to support us to grow, especially when things get tough. We often need others to help us to believe in ourselves, to keep going, and to try doing things a bit differently.  We can also be a great source of support to others as they grow – an encouraging word, a smile or championing a cause for the greater good all helps us, and others, to grow. Even when we have experienced really difficult challenges in our lives, with the right support, we can continue to grow and even flourish. 

Here are some activities you could complete over the course of the week that may help you to grow and flourish.

Miss Woodmansey. Wellbeing Coordinator. Teenage Brain illustration by Bella E-N, Year 10

Activity 1: A letter to my younger self

“Don’t judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.” Nelson Mandela

Try to reflect on your current achievements. Don’t just focus on academic, sport and musical achievements but include personal achievements, too. This could include things like being independently, staying away from home, managing friendship or relationship difficulties, managing your wellbeing. 

Once you have thought of your achievements, have a go at writing a letter to your younger self. What advice and reassurance can you give to your younger self? Can you write it in a letter starting ‘Dear [name] aged X’ and signed off from your current self. 

Activity 2: Showing gratitude

Gratitude is a tool you can use every day to help you see the positives in life. Gratitude is not a challenge, it is a choice where you experience a positive emotion that involves being thankful and appreciative and is associated with several mental and physical health benefits. When you experience gratitude, you feel grateful for something or someone in your life and respond with feelings of kindness, warmth, and other forms of generosity.

Each morning for the next 7 days, try and think of 5 things you are grateful for before you reach for your phone or get out of bed. What makes you grateful?

Also, try and show gratitude to somebody you love. Tell them three qualities of theirs that you think makes them amazing. You could say it to their face, or send them a message ♡

Activity 3 – watch a Growth Story

Dr Alex George’s Growth Story

Presenter, author, YouTuber and NHS doctor, Dr Alex George is well known for his work advocating for mental health and wellbeing. In 2021, he was appointed as the government’s first UK Youth Mental Health Ambassador. 

Mandip Gill’s Growth Story

Mandip Gill is an actor, best known for her roles in Doctor Who and Hollyoaks. She has starred in Doctor Who since 2018, playing the role of the Thirteenth Doctor’s companion, Yasmin.

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