This week is Children’s Mental Health Week (7-13 February 2022). This year’s theme is Growing Together.
We’re encouraging children (and adults) to consider how they have grown and how they can help others to grow.
Here’s how we have supported children and young people to grow as part of our Youth and Therapeutic Services (all names have been changed for anonymity)…
Therapeutic services get student back to school
12 year old Jake* was experiencing anxiety about leaving home to go to school, with fears that ‘something really bad’ would happen.
His anxiety was impacting his quality of life and education as he often wanted to stay at home where he felt safer, and to make sure no harm was coming to his younger sibling.
Jake was referred by his school and his mum to attend counselling sessions at Parenting 2000, a charity in Sefton that runs a range of services providing emotional and practical support, and information targeted at vulnerable children, young people and families.
During his sessions the team encouraged him to think about what anxiety is and how our brains work to keep us safe. They used an analogy of a fire alarm going off all the time, even when there is no fire.
They explored techniques to challenge some of his worrying thoughts and to help Jake feel more in charge. These included distraction techniques, developing an internal voice to challenge the messages of danger, and learning some calming breathing techniques.
During therapy Jake found that his worrying thoughts became a little less powerful by talking to somebody about them. By the time his sessions were finished he was back to school full time and was even able to show guests around the school for an open evening.
Jake said that sometimes he still felt worried about some things but had developed the techniques to deal with his thoughts, and felt more able to challenge them. He said “when the fire alarm goes off in my head, I just remember that it’s only a practice one”.
*Name changed for anonymity