The emotional wellbeing of children and young people is a growing area of both concern and action. There has been, over the last few years, a recorded increase in the numbers of children and young people who have been affected by a mental health issue. Issues might include depression, anxiety and self-harm.
There are many factors that can either provide protection for a young person or on the other hand create risk. For example being engaged in school and school activities and feeling a sense of belonging there can be a positive protective factor for that young person. A positive family life is also an important protective factor as is play and leisure activities.
The resilience of a child or young person is very important as this can help them cope much better at times of stress. Most of all children need to feel loved, valued, understood and safe in all areas of their lives, including school and family.
Change can negatively affect children and young people, especially if they have previously experienced a life trauma. Starting a new school or changes in the family, for example through family breakdown or bereavement, can clearly have a significant impact.
The teenage years can also bring a new range of challenges with the impact of hormonal change and peer pressure.
Children and young people experience many of the same mental health problems as adults, for example depression, which may manifest in low mood and self-isolation. Self-harm has also become more common amongst young people where they may cut, burn or express feelings of want to take their own life.
Anxiety has become more common in children and young people, where they may become very worried about going to school, being with friends or leaving the house.
We have also seen a growth in the number of young people developing eating disorders, they may try to over control their food intake or develop bulimia nervosa to manage eating and weight.
Having a caring and open relationship with parents is a key protective factor for children and young people. A parent giving their children their time is the most important thing they can do to help, showing that they are listening and not just giving advice! Often children and young people will recover quickly from an upset at school or within the family, however professional advice is available to support you and your family from Catholic Care.
Professional help at Catholic Care Schools, Children and Families Wellbeing Service.
Catholic Care has provided a social work and counselling service to schools in the Diocese over many years. We have a successful track record across the Diocese of providing effective professional support to Catholic schools through the Schools, Children and Family Wellbeing Service.
Our social workers, counsellors and educational psychologists provide a responsive school and parish based approach to delivering advice and support to children, young people and their families, both in school and/or at home.
We want to make a positive difference in the life of every child or young person we support, which requires seeing them as individuals and really hearing them. We also work closely in partnership with the people around them, including their family members, teachers and other professional services. This enables us to ensure the best possible standard of support and care for the young people’s physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual needs.