Mental Health And Lock Down
We are super excited to introduce to you the latest member of our Huddl family – The lovely Nicole Henry, a highly experienced child counselor, owner of ‘My Tea’ magazine and most importantly a proud mummy to her little boy!
Hi Huddl family,
I’m so excited to join you all! I look forward to assisting and being a support to all the the lovely families you have on board.
I’m Nicole Henry, I am a mother to my 15 month year old son Noah. I am a child counsellor by profession and support children from the age of 5-18 years old. My expertise covers a range of subject areas such as bullying, anxiety, abuse, parental separation, selective mutism, bereavement/ loss, depression and many more. I am the founder of My TEA (Therapy Equates to Awareness) magazine, I created this magazine after the first UK lockdown as I was concerned for many children I had worked with previously but also children that are not deemed as vulnerable. I wanted therapy to be accessible to all children. It’s a light hearted magazine that informs children on different mental health topics which includes activities, articles and testimonials and much more. For more details you can visit my website, www.thenicolehenry.com/mytea
I believe that mental health for children has the same level of importance as it does for adults. Therefore it is important for children to tell their own story in order to reduce mental health issues. Following the pandemic children have had to adapt and work with all the new changes just the same way as us parents. However children’s concerns and worries have been expressed in a slightly different way.
Children have had to deal with loss in many different aspects. This includes loss of loved ones, loss of times spent at school, loss of celebrations such as birthdays and end of year exams.
The aftermath of this has lead to children feeling quite anxious and worrying about tomorrow and the future. Statistics have shown that rates of likely mental disorders have increased since 2017. In 2020, one in 16.0% children aged 5 to 16 years were identified as having a probable mental disorder, increasing from 10.8% in 2017. The increase was evident in both boys and girls. This is a significant increase we as parents and professionals have to do all we can to support our children.
Anxiety is an emotion that is triggered from feeling quite tense, scared or worried about something. This can cause restlessness, feeling on-edge, trouble sleeping or lack of concentration, avoiding or withdrawing yourself from situations and having a loss of appetite. Symptoms can manifest in different ways as we are all different.
The best way to manage these feelings is firstly to acknowledge it is present. Depending on how your child communicates, drawing can be a great tool to get them to express how they feel. If they are able to express themselves through conversation then that should be encouraged. Once you have an understanding of how they feel, you can direct them to someone within the profession of mental health care such as a counsellor to seek guidance to work with your child to overcome or manage these emotions.
As we are in our second lockdown I thought it would be a good time to give you all some tips to get through with ease.
Lockdown 2.0 Tips
- Daily exercise – I want to encourage you to go out for daily exercise and fresh air. This is very beneficial as it helps to regain focus and switch off from things that are taking place at home, such as working from home. Most importantly it helps to maintain a good healthy lifestyle.
- Create a routine – Creating some kind of structure always helps with time management and completing tasks. It’s great that children are able to attend school during this lockdown. This will help take some pressure away from you as parents to manage working/studying from home and looking after children.
- Check in – Setting some time aside to bond and check in with your children to see how things are is a great way to build trust and for your child to have confidence to share any concerns or worries. Ways in which this can be built is through activities such as cooking together, painting or drawing together, watching a tv show/movie and discussing the moral of the story.
- Make the most of each weekend – As the weeks fly by really enjoy the weekends with your children, fun activities such as making slime, going to the park and playing football or movie days, can really change the atmosphere and bring joy. If possible, I encourage parents to try to have a ‘Me day’ to look after your own mental health.
- Remain positive! – My final point would be to remain positive throughout this period. I understand that many maybe under strain for many different reasons but try and find the positive in each situation. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
If you have any worry or concerns you can email your anonymous questions to firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll answer them on my new monthly BablBox column.
Love Nicole x