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The inaugural Children’s Mental Health Week (16-22 March) has officially been launched and is raising awareness of the growing number of mental health issues that may be facing children and young people. Organised by the children’s mental health charity Place2Be, this is the first time that a national campaign has focused solely on children’s mental health issues. 

The event, which has been supported by HRH The Duchess of Cambridge, is designed to encourage both parents and carers to talk openly with children about their feelings in a bid to prevent small issues from becoming serious problems in adulthood. The charity states that half of those with lifetime mental health issues experience their first symptoms by the age of 14, and those who receive appropriate support and guidance at a young age are less likely to suffer from serious mental health difficulties in later life. 

The need for Children’s Mental Health Week is clear; to launch the campaign, Place2Be commissioned a survey to find out parent’s attitudes towards mental health issues. This revealed that almost a third of parents of children aged 5-18 would feel embarrassed if their child wanted to take up counselling in school whilst one in five would not encourage their child to take up counselling, even if they asked for it. 

In an exclusive video message posted on the charity’s website, HRH The Duchess of Cambridge said: “The stigma around mental health means that many children do not get the help that they so badly need which needs to change... We need to help young people and their parents understand that it’s not a sign of weakness to ask for help; a child’s mental health is just as important as their physical health, and deserves the same quality of support.”

Although in its infancy, the campaign has caught public attention; not only will the campaign messages be broadcast on the BT Tower in London, but it will also focus as a guest campaign on the popular parenting website, Mumsnet

Will you be supporting Children’s Mental Health Week? Let us know what you will be doing by tweeting us @SanctuaryMH using #ChildrensMHW

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