Tips to boost wellbeing to mark World Mental Health Day
World Mental Health Day will be on Sunday, 10 October this year, with the overall aim of raising awareness of mental ill-health and changing attitudes towards such conditions.
The mental health and wellbeing of children and young people from Armed Forces families can be affected by issues such as mobility, separation, injury and bereavement.
More than half (56 per cent) of parents said being part of an Armed Forces family had a negative effect on the mental health of children and young people, according to the Naval Service Families Mental Health Survey of 2018. Only 9 per cent said there was a positive effect, with the rest remaining neutral.
Respondents highlighted issues such as “anxiety [over] the safety of their serving parent”, “self-harm, attachment issues, depression” and difficulties making and maintaining friendships.
Children and young people have also had to endure the added impact of the coronavirus pandemic over the past 18 months.
The NHS in Scotland offers Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) support in a number of areas – such as depression, self-harm, anger issues, bipolar disorder and problems with food and eating.
There are local teams across the country who work with schools, medics and other professionals. Your local health board will be able to offer more information.
A mental health and wellbeing support service for Armed Forces children and young people was launched this year by the Royal Caledonian Education Trust. The Your Mind Matters project works with children and young people from serving personnel and veteran families across Scotland.
How to help your child’s mental health and wellbeing
- Get creative. This helps to boost self-esteem, reduces stress and allows children to express themselves. Encourage them to draw, write, play music or make something.
- Eat well. A healthy, balanced diet can improve mood and aid restful sleep as well as give us enough energy.
- Connect with friends and loved ones. To help your child make new friends, perhaps there is a local youth, theatre or sports club they could join?
- Be active. Exercise benefits mood and self-confidence. Go for a swim, cycle or walk together.
- Have fun. Encourage your child to do things they enjoy, whether that is playing sport, reading or seeing friends.
For more information about World Mental Health Day, visit the World Health Organisation’s dedicated campaign page.
For more information and organisations that can help Armed Forces families and educators, visit our Resources section.
Separation study appeal
To better support the wellbeing of Armed Forces families during times of separation, naval families are being asked to aid research into how they stay in touch during periods of deployment.
The study is being carried out by the Veterans and Families Institute at Anglia Ruskin University and funded by the Naval Children’s Charity. Researchers want to talk to naval children between the ages of 11 to 21.