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Mental health for children

Mental health affects all aspects of your life, whatever your age.  We recognise events, illnesses and traumas can affect children's wellbeing and ability to learn. Sometimes the way children behave is the only way they can say something is wrong. We can  provide lots of information on how parents and carers can help support their child with their wellbeing.  If you need more information, please speak to your child's class teacher.

  • How to help your child develop emotionally...

    Thrive activities useful for parents of children up to 7 years old – week twelve

    Children love being creative and adventurous especially when adults play alongside them. For children to become emotionally strong and healthy, they need safe challenges and new experiences. Here are some ideas of things you can do at home to support this important learning. Playing outside if possible, improves children’s physical and sensory development as well as their imaginations and it’s fun! Here are some creative activities that you can use with your child, aged 3 to 7 years.

    Monday Something new: Do something you’ve never done before – perhaps something you’ve been scared to try?

    Tuesday Activity challenge: How many hop, skips, jumps, catches, balances or movements can you do in a minute?

    Wednesday Relax: Deep-breathe and relax for 10 minutes – lay down and relax into your imagination – where would you go? Play some quiet music if this helps.

    Thursday Teach a game: Think of your favourite game as a child. Teach your child how to play.

    Friday Frozen toy break-out: Choose a container, put some small plastic toys in it, fill with water and freeze it. Once they are frozen, ask your child how could they release them from the ice?

    Saturday Make a sandwich: Make a sandwich with an unusual combination of fillings. For example, peanut butter and ham, sweet and savoury or hot and cold fillings.

    Sunday Rainbow sculpture: Follow the instructions here to help. If you haven’t got all of the colours, you can colour in pieces of paper. Display in your window.

    Top Tips: Allow children to play freely while you follow their lead, keep them safe and enjoy the experience alongside them. Encourage your child to be as adventurous and creative as possible, perhaps by role modelling the activity yourself first Physical activity supports children by building confidence, improving mental health and wellbeing, increasing self-esteem and allowing thinking skills to develop. Remember – children learn hugely through play, especially with an adult they love. 


    Thrive activities useful for parents of children up to 11 years old – week twelve

    Parents and carers can support and acknowledge children’s emerging values and morals and individual ways of doing things. Parents can teach children the significance of rules and regulations and support them to develop their negotiation skills. Children enjoy sharing their options and using their skills. We have put together some daily activities to support social and emotional development through the arts, play and creativity. Monday Plan your very own escape room.

    Tuesday The Greatest Showman Part 2: plan your own circus show and invite your family to see your new skills.

    Wednesday Create your own grass head.

    Thursday Create a treasure hunt around the house.

    Friday Make some ninja stress balls.

    Saturday Try The Oti Mabuse Cha Cha challenge.

    Sunday Reflect on how you’re feeling this week with a drawing or collage.

  • If your child is having meltdowns...

    Managing behaviours that challenge

    Recognising the signs and causes of behaviours can be difficult, the young person may pace, become distant, rock or self harm. This could progress and lead to a meltdown.

    A meltdown is ‘an intense response to overwhelming situations’. It happens when someone becomes completely overwhelmed by their current situation and temporarily loses behavioural control. This loss of control can be expressed verbally (eg shouting, screaming, crying), physically (eg kicking, lashing out, biting) or in both ways (autism.org.uk)

    Key advice

    • Remain calm – keeping calm will help your child to match your response
    • Be consistant – use scripts
    • Behaviour is communication -assess what they may need
    • Have a team – a network of trusted friends and family that can support virtually
    • Have a plan – what? Who? When?
    • Use simple language – too much talking can be overwhelming
    • Reduce the amount of choices you give – this or this
    • It’s ok to be quiet
    • Teach alternatives - 5 point scale, feeling lines, how to ask for help, safe place, naming emotions
    • After a meltdown – reconnect, reflect and reprepare
    • Prevention is key – reduce known triggers, plan for change, use distractions


    • Allow for everyone to have ‘me’ time
    • Think outside the box
    • Speak to school about the strategies they use
    • Incorporate learning into activities they enjoy
    • Plan regular breaks​
    • Pick your battles                             
    • Talk, listen and share concerns – when regulated                      
    • Physical activities​ – yoga, scavenger hunts         
    • Write it or draw feelings
    • Fresh air​ - go for a walk, play in the garden                   
    • Have a calm safe space available
    • Meditation​                                        
    • Music
    • Fiddle toys
    • Blowing bubbles
    • Breathing techniques
    • Realistic expectations
  • If your child is struggling with anxiety...

    Supporting children and families

    CISS are supporting parents during these unprecedented times:
    Providing virtual advice and guidance for children with communication and/or social, emotional and mental health needs.
    Contact Tel: 01473 264717 or email: cissparentsupport@suffolk.gov.uk

    Please note that this telephone line will only be answered between the hours of 9am and 3pm and advice will not be given during the call, but questions passed on, which will then be answered by the most relevant CISS member of staff.

    Key advice

    • Maintain some normality
    • These are challenging times, help your child to stay happy and stimulated
    • Schools have provided learning packs – be realistic as to what is achievable for you and your child
    • Children can learn in different ways – use the activities and hobbies they enjoy incorporating learning
    • You are not alone, there are services and professionals who can provide support and advice
    • Remember emotional wellbeing is important
    • And keep it simple!


    Anxiety presents itself in different ways


    In these challenging times anxieties maybe especially heightened. If anxiety is persistent and interferes with everyday life, please seek professional advice.

    Key advice

    • Empathise - remember their anxieties are real to them
    • Remain calm and talk about their anxieties
    • Let them know that worrying is normal and important to keep us safe
    • Find out what helps them feel less anxious
    • Support them to find strategies they can use independently
    • Have a routine, this can provide reassurance


    • Model breathing techniques
    • Give them a cuddle
    • Suggest writing or drawing their feelings and worries – what are they? How does it feel?
    • Encourage your child to ask for help when they need it
    • Distraction can be helpful
    • Make a worry box/ monster to give the worries too
    • Engage in yoga/ physical activities/ healthy eating


    The recent changes can cause confusion and uncertainity. Some children and families will benefit from structure in their day.

    Routines provide:

    • Regulation
    • Predictability
    • Security
    • Independence
    • Calm
    • Stability
  • More information

    Useful Contacts

    Support for parents/carers PACT offer free, confidential support, including information and advice to any adult worried about the emotions, behaviour or mental health of a child or young person. We offer a safe environment to support with no judgement.


    Contact Support line: (07856) 038799

    A consultation helpline for emotional wellbeing and mental health issues relating to children and young people. https://www.suffolk.gov.uk/children-families-and-learning/suffolk-children-and-young-peoples-emotional-wellbeing-hub/Call 0345 600 2090, available Monday to Friday, 8am to 7:30pm.

    Offers help and support to improve wellbeing and manage stress, low mood and anxiety. They aim to reduce the onset of mental health problems, prevent deterioration and promote recovery by offering a range of flexible services.


    Non-emergency contact number 0300 123 1503 9am-5pm

     SPCN is a network of parents and carers of children with additional needs and/or disabilities. They are offering support to Suffolk parents online and over the phone, have a support page<https://spcn.org.uk/parent-carer-support/> and are sending out free Family Support boxes to families of children with additional needs up to the age of 25.​
    Call: 07341 126455  ​​
    Visit: www.spcn.org.uk​ Email: admin@spcn.org.uk

    Shout is a 24/7 UK crisis text service available for times when people feel they need immediate support.



    Leading the fight for a future where all young minds are supported and empowered whatever the challenges. Working to improve the emotional health and well being of children and young people in the UK.


    Parent helpline: 0808 8025544

    Mind empowers people to understand their condition and the choices available to them, through an info line which offers callers confidential help.


    Infoline: 0300 123 3393 Mon – Fri 9am 6pm Text: 86463                 info@mind.org.uk


    SENDIASS provide unbiased information and advice about the local authority's policies and procedures and about the policy and practice in local schools and other settings.    Helpline: 01473 265210       https://www.suffolksendiass.co.uk

    Suffolk info link - an online directory of community information; local clubs, societies, community and voluntary organisations, childcare providers and services https://infolink.suffolk.gov.uk/kb5/suffolk/infolink/home.page​             Helpline: 01473 265210

    Activities Unlimited provides short breaks and leisure activities to disabled children aged 0-25 in Suffolk​

    https://www.access-unlimited.co.uk/activitiesunlimited​         Telephone number: 01473 260026

    National Autistic Society – UK’s leading charity for autistic people and their families​​

    https://www.autism.org.uk​​​         Helpline: 07795 238778

    Booklet of mental health resources for children, young people and familieshttps://search3.openobjects.com/mediamanager/suffolk/enterprise/files/2020-04-09_mental_health_resources_v3.pd

    Anna Freud National centre - for children and families – a child mental health and treatment centre​​

    https://www.annafreud.org​​​            Helpline: 0207 7942313

  • Apps

    Dragon in the Attic (8-12 years) - http://dragon.me/play

    For me - http://www.childline.org.uk/toolbox/for-me/ ​

    Headspace - www.headspace.com ​

    Moodometer  http://myhealthapps.net/app/details/363/moodometer

    Moodpanda - www.moodpanda.com

    Moodscope (14 years +) - www.moodscope.com ​

    Smiling Mind - http://smilingmind.com.au/ ​

    Get self-help - www.getselfhelp.co.uk ​

    Mindshift  https://www.anxietybc.com/resources/mindshift-app ​

    Positive penguins (8-12 years) -http://positivepenguins.com/ ​

    SAM - http://sam-app.org.uk/ ​

    Rise up recovery warriors -https://www.recoverywarriors.com/app/

  • What if you need more help or feel things are really bad...
    • Ring your GP if you are really worried about how your child is feeling or behaving.
    • Ring Point 1 - offer early help and counselling support.  They can also get you more help if you need it.  Point 1-We know that for many families this will be a very challenging time, and we want to reassure you that our teams are working hard to continue to offer services to children and young people experiencing mental health issues.  We are not currently offering face to face sessions, but we can offer self-help advice, telephone and video support (subject to normal wait times).  For advice and support, please call us on 0800 977 4077 or email Point1-support@ormistonfamilies.org.uk.  You do not need to complete a referral form.For enquiries about the Link programme, email linkwork-point1@ormistonfamilies.org.ukThe office is staffed Monday – Friday 08:00 – 13:00 and 14:00-19:00, Saturday 08:00 – 13:00
    • Talk to CAMHS- CHildren and Adolescent Mental Health Service- we have an allocated nurse for the school, who we can arrange for you to talk to for advice.  This will be over the phone at the moment.  Email Mrs Blowers, she will arrange an appointment for you. birch.brampton@greatwoodsprimary.org
  • How can I help my child feel less anxious during a pandemic????
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