Children’s Mental Health Week, 1st – 7th February 2021
The theme this year is Express Yourself! At Jeremiah’s Journey we focus on children and young people’s mental health every week. However, to have a national campaign focusing and bringing awareness to this incredibly important topic is very welcome! It means all over the UK, people will be listening and noticing, learning and thinking about Children’s mental health. There are assemblies for schools, resources for youth groups and ways for families to get involved, all available at www.childrensmentalhealthweek.org.uk
Getting creative is a brilliant way to express yourself. Jeremiah’s Journey have been encouraging creativity since we first set up, 25 years ago. In our groups today we still use a lot of creative activities to explore how we are feeling and thinking, because we believe that it helps to encourage curiosity, allows people to get to know themselves and can be a lot easier for many people than just talking. An example of this is the children who come to our bereavement group will, among other things, use storytelling to be aware of what feelings may come up after a bereavement, explore their own feelings and notice how they might be similar to someone else’s and navigate those big feelings using shared language with their adult. They also use drawing, colouring and their decorating skills to express who they are as an individual and as part of a family. In the young people’s group, there is an opportunity to notice, grow and express a caring side of themselves, exploring ways in which we can be a good friend to ourselves through difficult times. These are all ways of expressing different parts of ourselves, using creativity to work through tricky feelings, noticing who we are and raising our voices to let others know too.
The Jeremiah’s Journey team love getting to know the people we work with and seeing all the brilliant ways people find to express themselves, because there are so many ways. Often children express themselves through play, learning about themselves and the world that way. Young people sometimes express themselves through music, clothes and friendship, getting to know their preferences, which might have changed since childhood. It’s not just children who can benefit from this kind of creativity and expression, as adults we also need time to play, to explore and to show ourselves and the world who we are.
Here are some activities you and your children might want to take part in to express yourselves, some are around letting feelings out and some are just for fun:
- Have a dance party. Put on some music you like and let yourself move, putting aside what you look like and just going with it.
- Keeping a journal is a great way of letting thoughts and feelings out. It doesn’t have to be just words, you can use pictures, stickers and collages to really make it your own. It can be private or be shared with someone.
- Make something. A sock puppet, a cake, a 3D model of an animal, music, anything! It doesn’t have to be perfect, or even good!
- Keep a worry jar. Write your worries or concerns on a piece of paper and feed it to the worry jar. You can choose to look at the worries one at a time, together, or draw a picture of a worry monster on your jar and let them be eaten up.
- Have a fashion show, put on a complete miss-match of clothes, maybe borrow each other’s clothes and model them.
Please do share with us anything you’ve created and tag us on social media. Feel free to share your own ideas too! We would love to see what you come up with.