Mindfulness is a very popular practise for mental health and wellbeing. While some people might be suspicious of its roots in organised religion, it actually has a very strong, clinical evidence-base. A great place to start is the Headspace app or website which teaches you the basics for free.
The Government has just published a Green paper on children and young people’s mental health. Green Papers are consultation documents produced by the Government. Their aim is to allow people to give feedback on Government policy. In this case, members of the public can have their say until 2nd March 2018.
It contains some helpful recommendations which will raise awareness of children’s mental health issues within schools. However, there are some disappointing aspects. For example, the four-week waiting target to access mental health provision is to be welcomed but it is limited to pilot areas.
Crucially, the paper does not include universal access to counselling services within every school. This is despite the fact that it is one of the Government’s own recommendations in its advice paper “Counselling in schools: a blueprint for the future“. Wales and Northern Ireland currently provide this within their own frameworks.
Joy says, “There’s clearly a crisis in our country and something is going very badly wrong, especially for young people’s mental health. I wonder how we as a nation can start making changes to our fundamental view on life as well as our expectations of young people? The difficulties we face as a nation through community and family breakdown and ill-considered use of technology are things that trouble me deeply, particularly seeing their impact as I do.”
This Archer’s story has been timed and sensitively crafted to fit in with new legislation on controlling or coercive behaviour which came into effect in December 2015. Many news organisations have been reporting on the story’s significance, particularly recently when it reached a climax as desperate Helen sought to escape from her abusive husband Rob.
The powerful dynamics of relationships like these are often secret. Stigma, shame, fear and loyalty hold people like Helen in a powerful vice. And it’s not just women and it’s not just heterosexual relationships.
If all this feels painfully familiar ask yourself: “Who am I in this scenario? The victim, the perpetrator, the child of an abusive relationship, the friend or relative of someone struggling?” Sometimes we even have more than one role. As sufferers of abuse, we can then go onto abuse others.
With courage, your second question could be: “How am I going to break this vicious cycle?”
See the support agencies listed in the BBC article and contact Joy to get support with making sense of what is happening in your life and how you can find a way to safe and healthy relationships.
It can be the hardest thing in the world to accept that our child or teen is struggling emotionally. We often unconsciously avoid admitting this because of the level of blame and responsibility we dread may be laid at our door.
It’s more straightforward to blame tiredness, school pressures or friendship problems than to look deeper and recognise that they are hurting and need our support. Finding a label such as ADHD may become important to us, linked as it is with the possibility of apparently simple treatment. However, there may be other more complicated factors involved and we may find it hard to face our own vulnerability and difficulty in coping. Maybe we weren’t able to bond with this particular child for whatever reason. Maybe preoccupation with our relationship breakdown has robbed us of time focussing on the needs of our child. Maybe we need them to be strong at the moment, so it’s easiest to believe that they’re coping fine. Sometimes we need help to face our own imperfections. We may need someone alongside us when dealing with the complexity of these feelings so that we can be our best for our child.
I’m pleased that the Duchess of Cambridge has opened the debate on these issues during this “Children’s Mental Health Week” . This is a cause very dear to my heart, as I’m in the final days of training for my Diploma in Child Counselling. Keep following me to find our more about the counselling work I offer to children from the age of 3 years old up. Please feel free to contact me to discuss how you can get the support you need on this journey.
People often make the mistake of separating physical health from mental health, but a great new initiative “Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds” brings the two together again. It provides low-cost access to exercise facilities for people suffering from depression. It is open to Basingstoke residents, who have been referred by their GPs. The first session is next Monday 5th Jan 2015.