Children’s Mental Health Week: Why it really matters

9th February 2024

This week marks a very important occasion: Children’s Mental Health Week. Most of the country has honoured this critical movement in one way or another, from libraries and radio stations to local councils and sports clubs.


While it’s lovely to see, we should be hesitant to congratulate something that should really be compulsory. Mental health problems impacting children and young people are at an all time high, and this is a social problem, not a school problem, after all.


So, the more businesses and organisations that come together to raise awareness and help give a voice to children and young people, the better!


Why does this really matter?

Mental health problems in children can affect their overall development and various aspects of life (including physical health and academic performance), as well as having severe long-term consequences.


Place2Be launched the mental health awareness week in 2015 to ‘empower, equip and give a voice’ to every child in the UK. To mark a decade in action, this year’s theme is: ‘My Voice Matters’. Perfect.


This week and beyond, we should be encouraging all young people – regardless of age, ability, or background – to believe that their voice matters. Because it really and truly does.


Schools and wider communities should work together to provide children with the tools they need to be able to express themselves and feel empowered. By making this possible, we’ll improve their mental health and wellbeing, which in turn will improve their quality of life.


This isn’t just about making schools a better place either (although that is a crucial outcome in itself!) but rather about making society a better place. We need young people just as much as they need us, so we must keep working towards a country that prioritises mental health for children.


How some of our schools have been celebrating

Of course, many schools across the North East have made an effort to recognise such an important issue this week.


King Edward Primary in North Shields celebrated by creating swirls and including all the things that matter most to them, such as family, Easter, nature… and Harry Potter!


Over at Whickham School in Gateshead, the Student Leadership Team arranged various activities to promote positivity and wellbeing. On Wednesday, they were giving out sweet treats from a lucky dip bag.


Falla Park Community Primary School in Gateshead took action in PE by thinking about how exercise and movement helps with mental health. They tried out yoga, Joe Wicks ‘fit in 5’, and Just Dance. Afterwards, they discussed how exercise made them feel both mentally and physically.


Teesside High took the time to highlight their wellbeing dog, George, who is always around with boundless enthusiasm for any pupils who may need a little boost. And he is ADORABLE!


Plus, lots of dedicated assemblies were taking place within schools, such as Crooksbarn Primary in Stockton-on-Tees and St Stephen’s Primary in North Tyneside. These served as a great opportunity to raise awareness, and promote tips and tricks to help children better understand their own mental health.


How you can get involved

It’s not too late to make your own contribution to Children’s Mental Health Week, if you haven’t done so already.

Download available resources (the importance of children’s mental health goes way beyond 11 February!), start an open discussion with someone about mental health, or create a post on social media to continue to raise awareness.


At Schools North East, we honoured the occasion in a few different ways, including by offering a 25% discount on school tickets for our upcoming Healthy MindED Conference on 21 May.


The theme for this year is ‘Embedding a Culture of Resilience’. The conference will have inspiring keynote speakers, interactive workshops, and actionable takeaways to help schools better understand and navigate important topics surrounding student mental health and wellbeing.


We really hope to see you there. It’s never been more important that we work together to create a region that’s full of resilient learners who don’t just know how to survive, but how to thrive.


Book your place before Sunday 11 February and receive the 25% discount.