Children’s Mental Health Week
This week we are celebrating how your support is making a difference to children and young people facing mental health challenges. Donations from our kind community and grants from supporters like Children in Need and Youth Music are making a life-changing difference to our young people.
BBC Children in Need is currently funding our Framing our Futures project here at Alder Hey. This innovative programme of youth-led creative activities really is making a huge difference to the lives of our children and young people who are living with mental health conditions. The three-year project is giving children and young people the opportunity to get involved with a range of visual media activities, including photography and animation.
Youth Music funds our Minds Matter project, enabling a wonderful team of professional musicians to create music with our children and young people every week who are struggling with their mental health. This includes children and young people with long term physical and mental health challenges, including eating disorders and neurodiversity.
Creativity is now well recognised as a huge benefit to our health and wellbeing, with extensive research demonstrating its incredible value. Projects like Framing our Futures and Minds Matter have a transformative effect on many young people and support our inspirational clinicians to treat and care for children in a holistic and innovative way.
The projects you help to fund strengthen connections, confidence and help to rebuild self-esteem, bringing a unique sense of creative community and togetherness to our children’s hospital.
Ben Smith is Matron for our Dewi Jones Unit, a Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service that provides inpatient care for children who, for whatever reason, may need more support than the community and family/carer can offer. The service will soon move to its amazing new home, Sunflower House, that generous donations to our charity have helped to build.
Ben wrote a blog article this week about connections and relationships, which is often a central theme to the creative projects you help to fund.
“Here at the Dewi Jones Unit we often see how social connections impact on the lives and mental health of young children.
We understand how connections with family, carers and friends can have a positive influence on a young person and we provide a safe place to explore those connections should they become strained. Often when we look after children here, social and family connections have broken down and become tense. We work closely with children and their families/carers to rectify this.
Being young is challenging, we appreciate every child is different and explores life in different ways. We know that forming meaningful relationships with families, carers and friends can significantly improve outcomes in relation to a child’s mental health. As such we encourage and support children in our care, to reconnect with family or carers, friends and school and support them to do that at a pace that is comfortable.
So, let’s learn to reconnect, create positive experiences within our own networks and begin to expand our own communities in a positive and meaningful way.”