New campaign aims to support children and young people’s wellbeing
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Children's mental health and wellbeing are a big part of our Open Up virtual conference on Friday, February 12, which will comprise 11 sessions of debates and workshops between 8.30am-4pm.
Lockdown can be particularly hard on children and young people, limiting their social interactions at a time when they are arguably more important than ever. Norfolk County Council’s new “We’ve Got This” campaign encourages the sharing of experiences to help each other get through the pandemic.
A new campaign aimed at helping promote emotional wellbeing and resilience in children and young people launched last week. Entitled “This is how #WeveGotThis”, the campaign will get young people sharing their top tips on getting through the pandemic via social media platforms, such as TikTok and Instagram.
Its launch coincided with Children’s Mental Health Week, which ran from 1-7 February. Norfolk County Council is leading the campaign, on behalf of the Norfolk Children’s Safeguarding Partnership, recognising the challenges that children, young people and their families are experiencing in lockdown.
There is also support for parents and schools, with activities they can do to promote children’s wellbeing and a webinar for parents on emotional resilience.
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A daily wellbeing challenge for families with younger children has also been launched and the council has already distributed 10,000 Big Norfolk Feel Good Fun Packs to families, with activities to do at home.
Access to a whole host of activities to enjoy at home can be found at www.norfolk.gov.uk/feelgood
Cllr Andrew Proctor, Leader of Norfolk County Council, said: “Norfolk’s youngsters are facing so many challenges at the moment due to the pandemic so I’m very pleased that we marked Children’s Mental Health Week by launching a campaign that gets young people promoting positivity and supporting one another.
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“I’d like to encourage all children and young people to take part and share how they’re looking after themselves to open up a wider, much needed conversation about wellbeing. We’ve been working with young people to help shape this campaign and their enthusiasm and desire to help one another really shines through.
“I also want to thank Norfolk’s young people for the important role they’ve played during this pandemic in helping to protect the most vulnerable.”
The campaign and the daily challenge link to the five Ways of Wellbeing which are:
- Be active
- Take notice
- Keep learning
The campaign launched on social media platforms with #WeveGotThis to connect with children aged eleven and up, and is asking young people to film themselves explaining how they look after their mental wellbeing and share it using the hashtag to promote conversations about mental health.
Young people can follow the campaign on Instagram and tiktok by following @Thisishow_Norfolk.
Cllr Emma Corlett, member champion for mental health, said: “Norfolk’s children and young people have experienced such a tough year. I have seen first-hand the impact that uncertainty and relentless scary news stories about death has had; burdening children and young people with what should be adult worries.
“Isolation from friends and family and disruption to social and educational routines has made this even harder. Milestones and ‘rights of passage’ such as leavers assemblies, transition to new school, GCSE, A’ Level and BTEC exams have all been disrupted, with birthday and other celebrations scaled down.
“Despite this, we have seen such resilience from young people, finding creative ways to stay in touch with friends, and doing a good job of looking out for each other.
“But we must be under no illusion the impact that this has had, and it is going to need our collective effort in the coming months and years to support the emotional wellbeing of our children and young people.”
Alfie Randall, Young Commissioner, West Norfolk said: “Young people are struggling now more than ever. It is essential we tackle this issue by reaching out to as many young people as possible during a time of such great need. Whether that’s by connecting with friends and family, getting outdoors for exercise, or just setting simple goals.
“We hope to engage as many young people as possible through social media to guide them through this hardship.”
How people can get involved:
- Post on social media using the hashtag #WeveGotThis
- Follow @thisishow_norfolk on instagram and TikTok
- Visit www.norfolk.gov.uk/feelgood for wellbeing activities for younger children not on social media
- Take part in the #WeveGotThis Open Up Session between 1.30pm-2.15pm on Friday, February 12 – more here.
Lockdown parenting starts with looking after your own wellbeing
As parents, the most important thing we can do to support our children and young people is to look after our own wellbeing.
We have enormous influence over the emotional tone we set for our children and young people. If we are feeling stressed and anxious these are the feelings that will ripple through our families.
So, what can we do about it?
We can make sure that we are putting our own “oxygen mask” on first.
You know the scenario – you’ve managed to stop your children squabbling over the remote control, walked the dog, prepared lunch, found a repair person to fix the toilet and then one of your children is crying because their best friend blocked them on social media.
In this moment, what your child needs more than anything else is a compassionate, kind response leaving them feeling understood. But this can be difficult and perhaps impossible if we haven’t taken the time to look after our own wellbeing.
This doesn’t have to be complicated; it means making sure you are taking the time to refill your own resource bucket. This is especially important during those times when things feel difficult and our inclination is to put our own selfcare at the bottom of the list.
Here are some simple ideas to look after your wellbeing...
Prioritise the basics:
- Get enough sleep
- Do some exercise (this can be a five-minute walk or a kitchen disco!)
- Eat regularly
- Spending time in nature – even a small amount of time in green spaces is beneficial to our wellbeing.
- Spending time connecting with people you find supportive – this can be a five-minute phone call or a quick cup of coffee over a video call.
- Thinking about the things you are grateful for – come up with three things that you are grateful for each day.
- Spending time doing something you enjoy – watching TV, drawing, reading a book, having a cuddle.
Give yourself permission to feel all the emotions while remembering that these emotions will pass. Our children will listen to what we say but they will do what we do. When our children see us looking after our own wellbeing it teaches them to prioritise and develop their own wellbeing practices.
Sometimes we will manage this well and sometimes we won’t, and that’s OK. Being mindful of the ripple is the most helpful first step we can all take.
For more help and advice, join one of Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust’s parent workshops, which have been designed to help you support your child. Full details are available on the Facebook page @NSFTrust.
Don’t miss the “Mental health and my child” session between 12.30-1.15pm as part of Open Up on Friday, February 12 – more here.