This year’s Children’s Mental Health Week is taking place on 1-7 February 2021, aiming to raise awareness on the importance of children and young people’s mental health. Since the event was launched seven years ago, there has never been a more important time to focus on children’s wellbeing.


Most children are away from school, trying to continue their education online. Away from their friends and relatives, isolated at home in yet another lockdown. One in ten children admit that they often or always feel lonely, and this is resulting in disrupted sleep, eating disorders and other mental health problems. Even more worrying is that an estimated 44.6% of children and young people do not ask for help. Razzak Mirjan is the founder of Beder, a charity aiming to raise awareness around mental health and suicide prevention, and he explains why this is: “Children are not as well-equipped to recognise signs of deteriorating mental wellbeing, so it’s important that parents and caregivers have conversations on how they’re feeling, encourage and reassure them. It can also help to keep as many regular routines in place as possible and to spend time together doing positive activities, giving the child a forum to open up.”


The organiser of Children’s Mental Health Week, Place2Be, is aiming to do exactly what Razzak suggested, giving children an opportunity to share their thoughts and feelings. This year’s theme is expressing yourself, through art, writing music, dance, film or any other activity that makes you feel good. The event was started by a message from The Duchess of Cambridge, Patron of Place2Be, and the charity is running online assemblies and providing free resources to get as many children involved as possible.


Schools across the country are also organising events to support children’s wellbeing. At Francis Holland School, for example, the PE department set challenges and organised live sports sessions to encourage students to do more physical activities, which can immensely improve mental health. Sports allow people to have better sleep, happier moods, sharper memory, more control over their stress and higher self-esteem. The school also provided suggestions on how students can express themselves, whether by doing a “Disco in the Dark” in their rooms by turning out the lights and dancing, baking or gardening. These activities are fun, make students happy and allow them to express themselves.


The importance of Children’s Wellbeing Week cannot be overestimated, especially now when children are not able to have social interactions as normal. It is vital that charities such as Place2Be, schools, parents and carers encourage children to explore their creative potential and express themselves.