Children’s mental health week is a fantastic opportunity for us to make lots of positive changes in schools. We heard some disappointing news over the weekend that a large council in Scotland are cutting all children’s access to music, sport, learning support and closing all sports centres and libraries not attached to schools. I think this was a bit of a ‘wow’ moment for many of us. The studies show us that these types of activities have a huge impact on our mental wellbeing and the stats back up the fact that we need to do as much as possible.
I’m trying to focus on all the positive news instead such as schools introducing kids to valuable practises like mindfulness and meditation at an early age. This morning I gave a couple of talks with Michael Ulloa, both of us work hard to create content online that encourages both positive physical and mental health for all ages.
It was really interesting to chat to primary kids and find out which activities are going on online and who they look to as influencers. We discussed a lot of the dangerous elements of Instagram and the fact that some celebrities they admire are endorsing products that are really dangerous for both our physical and mental health. What I love about Michael is that he wouldn’t put money before his morals. I understand that it can be tempting, when some influencers are offered millions. But it’s really important that we stay true to our values and do our bit to help make the internet a safer and happier place.
I spoke to Part Time Working Mummy about this, who is on my podcast this week (tune in here). She was recently offered a large sum of money to endorse a poker game, but refused as often gambling is associated with domestic abuse.
We spoke to the kids about people posting their best lives on social media and how it’s important to take a break from it. We also asked them the type of things they enjoy posting on Instagram and snapchat. We got answers such as ‘my new trainers’, ‘my holidays’ and ‘when I win games’. Basically, their highlights. Some said they enjoyed posting images of their pets and we spoke about animals and why they are great for our mental health.
I talked through some pages I really enjoy that help to boost my mental health and some quotes I have seen that have been damaging. One of the quotes I really didn’t like said:
‘If people don’t make an effort with you, stop making an effort with them’.
Sometimes we need to reach out to our friends, to ensure they are okay. Especially if they start to distance themselves. We spoke about how valuable true human connection is, especially offline. A topic I want to raise more awareness of is how we listen without judgement. I had a message this morning online that got me thinking. It was in response to a post I put out over the weekend about our mental health. I get annoyed with comments implying that talking openly about mental health is a trend. It’s not simply a “cool topic”. It shouldn’t be something people need to “admit” like it’s some kind of dirty secret. Mental health isn’t a fad. We all have a mind and sometimes that mind can be really hard to live with. It’s a huge part of our life, something that makes us human. We’re not meant to be perfect. That can be hard but by sharing and supporting each other, life becomes easier. How do we really listen though? I love this quote that was shared with me today
‘Turn judgement into curiosity’.
This is how I try to live my life. Some don’t like it as it implies we put up with too much from people but the truth be told, I am happy being that way. I will always remain inquisitive and open minded around our mental health. I will always be on the lookout for those who want to add to the conversation. Not simply because mental health is on trend. It’s taken a lot of hard work and scary statistics to get to the point that we are starting to break the stigma. To take away from this and call discussions about our complex minds ‘too popular’ is not only extremely frustrating but it’s damaging. Let’s keep up the good work and encourage more conversations. Not just this week for children’s mental health week, but every day.