There are many pressures of modern-day life that can affect a child’s mental wellbeing, from struggling in class to falling out with friends, and as we know it is estimated that 50 per cent of all mental health problems are established by the age of 14 and 75 per cent by the age of 24.
At Kids Inspire we regularly meet children and young people that are working on ‘finding their brave’. There is such a huge sense of relief from a child after they’ve taken that first brave step and found the courage to come in and meet us.
While we all go through transitions in life, whether it’s starting school, going through a family breakup, conflict or bereavement it’s all individual to that child going through it.
Meeting a child
We use the first time we meet to understand the issues that a child might be feeling, be it low self-esteem, anxiety, depressive episodes or even suicidal ideation.
With each child, we look and listen to how their past affects their present, reviewing closely the whole system revolving around them; school, family, peers. Alongside, we look at negative childhood experiences to make our practice trauma-informed, addressing the cause rather than the symptoms.
Identification of adverse experiences helps our expert clinical team to create a bespoke package of therapy (whether that’s individual, couples or family – the family-inclusive approach is best for sustainable outcomes), coaching, mentoring or group work – one size of therapy does not fit all.
When we first met 10yr old Marie, she told us she no longer wanted to live. Marie was referred to Kids Inspire by her school after she self-harmed in class; scraping at her finger with scissors and scratching her skin until it bled. She said that hurting herself made her feel better by calming the thoughts that were whirling around in her head.
Creative arts-based therapy has helped Marie to process difficult emotions – she is now able to use artmaking when she feels overwhelmed instead of harming herself.
Favouring the arts, we have found that creative licence offers children the opportunity to learn strategies to help them cope when faced with unknown challenges. Learning how ‘finding their brave’ will help them at times of need, a resource bespoke to them.
Through therapy, the reasons for Marie’s behaviour and overwhelming feelings became evident and pointed towards complex family dynamics. Kids Inspire’s Family Team arranged to work with Marie’s parents to achieve long-term, sustainable change for all.
Children’s Mental Health Week is 3-7 February. The theme this year is ‘Finding Your Brave’. Dedicated weeks like this go a long way in raising awareness and in creating an open discussion around mental health. We hope that this week will encourage children and young people to open about problems they may be facing.