Friday, 9 February 2018

Children's Mental Health Week: Messy Minds



Can you remember the mess of your mind as a child? The utter devastation you felt the first time you experienced rejection, failure, a broken heart or felt unsafe? Remember that time you didn’t understand what was happening, after someone you love had an accident or died, or that day the house got burgled and nothing was normal for a while, or ever.

How about the first time you walked in to school, that sports club, the sexual health clinic or the therapists office? That unsettled sense of the unknown, wobbling knees or gut as you contemplate the possibility that you might not be accepted.

The anxiety.

The stuff on the news that doesn’t make sense, and the way adults react to it. Are we going to be ok mum?

The hormones.

The pressure to know right from wrong while also learning Physics.

The mystery of your body and the excruciating scrutiny of every inch of you, compared to every inch of others.

The effort to hide the things you weren’t allowed to have or do or the boys and girls you weren’t supposed to be kissing followed by the fear they would tell everyone you’re a bad kisser.  

The mess!

The fragility of a child carrying these burdens is enormous. Their inexperienced minds, full to the brim with new information to process all of the time while navigating new emotion after new experience after new emotion. There is nothing less surprising than the fact that 1 in 10 children have a diagnosed mental health problem, according to YoungMinds.

Our role in charity and in public service is more than just to make provision for when the worst happens. It’s to expect that these young, inexperienced minds will need our constant care and will break sometimes anyway. Then, we be there. Not sometimes, not maybe, not when it’s so bad the young person wants to die. Always.

Children and young people tell us every day that they are not ok, and this makes them want to run away, often to get space. Return Home Interviews are vital for spotting concerning mental health in children and young people. Our teams provide Return Home Interviews seven days per week, in person and by phone, so that a child has an independent space to think through the immense pressure in their heads, and so that we can help them access specialist help if they need it.

Runaway Helpline is here 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We never judge. We never charge for your call or text and you can talk to us in confidence by calling or texting 116 000.




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Around 250,000 people go missing in the UK each year. The Missing Blog aims to give a voice to all those affected by this issue.

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