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October 12, 2018
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November 12, 2018

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The World Health Organisation recognises World Mental Health Day on 10th October each year. The day provides an opportunity for all stakeholders working on mental health issues to talk about their work and what more needs to be done to make mental health care a reality for people worldwide. This year’s theme set by the Organisation was young people and mental health in a changing world.

 

Mental health problems affect about 1 in 10 children and young people. They include depression, anxiety and conduct disorder, and are often a direct response to what is happening in their lives. The emotional wellbeing of children is just as important as their physical health. Good mental health allows children and young people to develop the resilience to cope with whatever life throws at them and grow into well-rounded healthy adults.

 

Mostly things that happen to children don’t lead to mental health problems on their own, but traumatic events can trigger problems for children and young people who are already vulnerable so these issues can be very evident in children who are fostered, which is why we ensure our Foster Carers are aware of the symptoms and know what to do should they encounter them.

 

There are a number of mental health problems that can commonly occur in children and young people (there is more information about each of these on the World Mental Health website) at https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/a-to-z/c/children-and-young-people

 

The main issues are:

  • Depression.
  • Self-harm, a common problem among some young people.
  • Generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) can cause young people to become extremely worried. Very young children and young people moving schools may have separation anxiety.
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can follow physical or sexual abuse, witnessing something extremely frightening or traumatising, being the victim of violence or severe bullying, or surviving a disaster.
  • Children who are consistently overactive (‘hyperactive’), behave impulsively and have difficulty paying attention may have ADHD.
  • Eating disorders usually start in the teenage years and are more common in girls than boys and can have serious consequences for their physical health and development.

 

We support the work of the World Health Organisation in raising awareness of these issues and praise them for their focus this year on the mental health of children and young people. The world of a looked-after child can change constantly which is why, here at the Acorns, our first aim is to offer stability. It’s also extremely important that our carers are trained to be able to spot the signs as unfortunately the children that come into care have inevitably suffered trauma, grief and loss, and consequently, their behaviours can be challenging. Yes, that’s a tall order, but with the right support and training, it can be done and our carers can really make a difference to these children’s lives and their mental well-being with the correct training and support.

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