What can you do to support your child's mental well being during Children's Mental Health Week?

Credit: PA

By ITV News Central Production Journalist Rachael Lewis

Children's Mental Health Week is a yearly reminder to check up on young people and to remind them just how important their mental wellbeing is.

With the growing pressures of social media and the on going pandemic causing disruption, the mental welfare of young people is more important than ever.

ITV News Central have been speaking to Dr Isabel Morales-Muñoz from the Institute for Mental Health at the University of Birmingham to find out what you can do to support your children's mental well being.

Dr Morales-Muñoz has been sharing some of her some top tips for parents or carers:

  • You might notice there are some changes from your child's normal behaviour. When these situations arise you should talk to them and let them know you are there for them when they are ready to discuss whatever is bothering them.

  • Be a role model for them, teach them how to deal with conflicts in their emotions. For example, if they are stressed you can teach them good ways to deal with it.

  • Exercise is a really good way to deal with stress that a child may feel and a good way of coping with mental health problems in general.

  • Doing activities with your children such as relaxation activities or things like painting can really help your child deal with any mental health problems they may be having.

ITV Central has been investigating how many children and young people in our region accessed Mental Health Services. Credit: Time To Change

As an expert in field of sleep, Dr Isabel Morales-Muñoz explained how sleeping patterns can also have a huge effect on children's mental health.

Dr Morales-Muñoz said sleep consequently leads to good mental health and there are some good sleep practises that she believes parents have the responsibility to put into practise at home.

She said: "I think its very important that parents promote with their own examples, so specific sleep routines in general within families"

Dr Morales-Muñoz continued by explaining it helps children knowing what time they eat dinner, and then making sure they know their own specific bedtime and their parents specific bedtime.

She said: "As well this, it's very important to promote earlier bedtimes, this is not only for the children but as well as for their parents."

"There is a lot of evidence that suggests earlier bedtimes is related to better mental health."

Dr Morales-Muñoz explained that there is research suggesting later bed times can be related to worse mental and physical health problems for people of all ages in general.

Throughout Children's Mental Health Week, various events are happening across the region to promote better wellbeing for young people.

On Monday, Oscar-winning actress Olivia Coleman took part in a series of online assemblies for children in Nottingham, promoting wellbeing and emotional growth.

Colman said: “The past few years have been challenging for everyone, so it’s vital that we look after our own mental wellbeing but also find ways to support each other.

“We’re always growing, we just may not realise it. The most difficult growth to recognise is emotional.

“For Children’s Mental Health Week 2022, we’re encouraging everyone to explore how they have grown together and to celebrate how even through difficult times, with the right support we can all continue to grow and flourish.”

Today, MPs questioned experts in Westminster on how the pandemic has impacted children's mental health and wellbeing following disruption to their education and social lives.

With members of the Commons Education Committee considering what policy changes could better support young people's mental health.

For mental health support and advice:

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