YOUNG MINDS
MATTER

Young Minds Matter is a new series designed to lead the conversation with children about mental and emotional health, so youngsters feel loved, valued and understood. Launched with Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge as guest editor, we will discuss problems, causes and most importantly solutions to the stigma surrounding the UK’s mental health crisis amongst children. 

Turning Good Will Into Action: Now Is the Time to Deliver on Children and Young People's Mental Health

Prof Dame Sue Bailey - Chair of the Children & Young People's Mental Health Coalition

We welcome the focus on inequalities and vulnerable groups; in particular the mental health needs of people from black and minority ethnic (BME) groups. Whilst it is important to address the disproportionate number of people from certain BME groups in the mental health system, there also needs to be more attention on how you address problems at a much earlier stage and work to prevent these problems occurring.

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How Can We Help Young People Overcome the Emotional Storms of Life?

Dick Moore - Associate Schools Trainer, Charlie Waller Memorial Trust

Just over four years ago my world, and that of my family, literally fell apart. It was a day like any other when two very sensitive police officers had the awful job of telling my wife and I that our son Barney had taken his own life. He was just 21-years-old. He was a lovely lad, a little shy but normal and well-liked. Whilst our other sons coped with the slings and arrows of growing up, Barney was just not equipped to deal with the storms of life.  

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Four Inspiring Teens Tell Their Stories Of Surviving Mental Health Challenges

Nitya Rajan - Tech reporter, The Huffington Post UK

"I felt like there was something actually telling me, I'm not worth it, I'm not good enough," Sai tells the Huffington Post UK. She was diagnosed with anorexia and depression at age 10, forcing her into intensive care a year later.

Helped by Young Minds, a charity that focuses on children and young people's wellbeing and mental health, the 17-year-old student has come a long way, sharing her story with others to help empower those who may be facing the same battles.

    

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Science's Magic Solution To Children's Mental Health Is Missing One Simple Ingredient

Nitya Rajan - Tech reporter, The Huffington Post UK

Downstairs at the Anna Freud Centre, which is at the forefront of research into child mental health, a roomful of health professionals are being trained to help young people deal with trauma. In the waiting area, a couple catch my eye and flash a nervous smile. The centre also offers assessments of families and children for court cases.

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Mindfulness In Schools Is Giving Children The Vital Tools To Protect Their Mental Wellbeing

Poorna Bell - Executive editor, The Huffington Post UK

A couple of years ago mindfulness in schools was viewed as a nice add-on or, worse, a fad. Now, there is increasing evidence that it is helpful when used alongside other treatments for mental health problems such as depression and anxiety. In other words, less of a handy extra and more of an essential.

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'Addicted Daughter' Persia Lawson Reveals The Moment That Turned Her Life Around

Nitya Rajan - Tech reporter, The Huffington Post UK

Her mother, Jane Lawson - a registered methadone addict - began her cycle of self-destructive behaviour at the age of five, when her father, also an addict, used to feed her alcohol. Although they kept up appearances, addiction soon started taking its toll on the family and Persia's personal life as she soon found herself "addicted to addicts."

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The Kids Are Not Alright: Homelessness and Its Impact on Children's Mental Health

Alison Mohammed - Director of Services at housing and homelessness charity Shelter

The shocking effects homelessness can have on a child's mental health can't be overstated. Shelter recently visited a number of primary schools in London where school pastoral workers spoke about the anguish that their homeless pupils go through, and the stories we heard were quite simply heart-breaking. Teachers reported children sleeping in cars, getting ready for school in the toilets of a nearby supermarket, waking up at 5am to leave for school and then falling asleep in class.

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Early Intervention Is the Key to Preventing Bullying

Claude Knights - CEO, Kidscape

We have come to better understand bullying, not least the links with mental health issues, and increasingly we see schools and communities try to block it. But as someone who sees the consequences of bullying every day, I know that the first, and long-lasting, lessons should occur in the home. Bully-proofing a child begins in the high chair, and needs constant reinforcement.

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Excuse Me, Are You Listening?!

Music Therapist for the UK's leading music therapy charity Nordoff Robbins

In my experience of working with vulnerable children, there are a lot of insecurities that is masked by false bravado. I am currently working with a young girl who spends most of the session running around the room, ordering me around, trying to stay in control of the situation. But then we have moments where we find ourselves lying on the floor together watching the latest Taylor Swift music video on the iPad and she asks so many questions, "Why are the girls fighting?", "Do you think it's over a boy?" and it is in these moments that her vulnerabilities and her trying to make sense of the world around her becomes apparent.

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School Counsellors Can Help Tackle Children's Mental Health Crisis

Matthew Reed - Chief Executive of The Children’s Society Email

Problems with mental health often start when children are still at school - three quarters of adult mental health problems are thought to have their roots in childhood. It seems obvious, then, that one of the best ways to tackle poor mental health effectively is to offer help when mental health issues first emerge at school. Schools are the ideal places to respond to students' mental health and emotional needs.  

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CAMHS: Taking the First Steps

Sarah Crown - Mumsnet Editor

Being a parent of a primary school aged child is a stressful business. The responsibility, the hours, the negative feedback (often delivered at top volume in a supermarket aisle): all combine to leave those of us with young offspring feeling, at times, ground down and wrung out. But these everyday pressures are as nothing compared with the stress and worry experienced by parents whose young children are suffering from mental ill-health or struggling with behavioural issues. 

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Paintbrushes at the Ready Children... It's "Time to Talk"

Mary Rose Brady - Director of Operations at the British Association of Art Therapists

As an art therapist specialising in work with children and young people I am acutely aware of the fact that for far too long we have applied adult solutions to children's problems and that one size certainly does not fit all. What about those children - the majority of children referred to us - who struggle to put their feelings into words, the threatened, the bullied, children with undiagnosed trauma, children with diagnosed trauma, children for whom English is an additional language

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Breaking the Cycle: Starting Again With Family Dynamics

Becca Bland - Founder of Stand Alone, a charity supporting adults that are estranged from their family

Many young people will spend time riding the waves of change that estrangement brings. This can undoubtedly be very difficult for all involved. However, we don't often discuss the idea that family estrangement can have a good impact on a child, and can serve a vital purpose in building more functional families, who will positively influence the mental health of the generations growing up in our primary schools today.

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I Was Nine When My Nana Died - No Child Should Struggle Alone

Jonny Benjamin - Award-winning mental health campaigner and video blogger

I was nine years old when my nana passed away. It was my first experience of loss and grief. I had been extremely close to my dad's mother and have many fond memories of the times we spent together. She passed away suddenly on a Sunday afternoon and I remember being told the news that evening by my mum. I buried my head in her lap and cried for some time. The next day I went to school as normal. But I remember feeling anything but normal as we drove there that morning.

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Every Child Deserves a Chance to Enter Adulthood With Ambition, Hope and an Opportunity to Flourish

Eamon McCrory - Professor of Developmental Neuroscience and Psychopathology at UCL

Looking back on my own childhood growing up in Belfast in the 1970s and 80s during what became known as the 'Troubles' adversity was the norm - community violence, poverty and institutional sexual abuse were common. There were children in my school with behavioural problems, those who were anxious or bullied, and others who were socially isolated. At that time, these difficulties weren't seen as mental health problems.  

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For My Husband and the Boy He Used to Be

Executive Editor, The Huffington Post UK

By the time you read this, I will be on my way to New Zealand to see my husband Rob. I have waited nearly nine months to see him.   This isn't the reunion you're expecting.  He won't be there to meet me at the airport.  
Like a rainbow in sunlight, he is both here and not here because nine months ago, Rob took his own life after years of suffering from severe depression. 

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Here's The Real Truth About Mental Health In Children

Nitya Rajan - Tech reporter, The Huffington Post UK

One in ten children in the UK suffer from a mental health condition, according to the Office for National Statistics. When you consider the entire lifespan of a child, one in five 11-year-olds have suffered a mental health issue at some point in their lives - that's around 140,000 children, which is roughly the population of Oxford.

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A Third Of Parents Fear They Will Look Bad If Their Child Has A Mental Health Problem

Louise Ridley - Assistant News Editor, The Huffington Post UK

Almost a third of British parents feel they could look like a bad mother or father if their child has a mental health problem, according to exclusive research for The Huffington Post UK. Nearly one in three (32%) of parents said they would worry that a child with a mental health issue would reflect badly on them, according to the poll, published as part of our Young Minds Matter series, guest edited by The Duchess of Cambridge.   

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Children With Mental Health Problems 'Go An Average Of 10 Years Before They Are Treated'

Jack Sommers and George Bowden - Assistant news editor and Social Media Writer, The Huffington Post UK

Children have to wait an average of 10 years to get help after they first suffer mental health problems, according to research by a leading independent charity. And the delay in treating them ends up costing society more than £105billion a year, the Centre for Mental Health has found. The research found that ignorance of mental health issues and the lack of support for children and parents are the main causes of the decade of delay. 

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The Power Of The Paintbrush: How Art Therapy Is Saving Children With Mental Health Issues

Rachel Moss - Lifestyle writer, The Huffington Post Uk

For an adult suffering with a mental health problem, talking about how they’re feeling can be difficult. So, for a child with limited language skills, opening up about their feelings can be almost impossible. That’s where art therapy comes in. It uses activities, such as painting, to help children understand and discuss thoughts they may find distressing.

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We Spoke To Adults With Mental Health Issues About How Early Intervention Could Have Changed Their Lives

Brogan Driscoll - Senior Lifestyle Editor, The Huffington Post UK

Issues can stem from an uncertain or unhappy life at home or at school, whether that's due to family breakdown, abuse, bereavement or bullying. Experts agree that both parents and teachers are responsible to look out for the mental wellbeing of a child. But, as children do not necessarily have the awareness or language to express such complex issues, monitoring their behaviour is key.

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Let's Change the Conversation Around Mental Health

Michelle Obama

Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge has been a passionate voice on so many important issues, and I'm grateful that she is using her day as Guest Editor to shine a bright light on mental health, particularly children's mental health, and on the tens of millions of people who suffer in silence - people like Ryan Rigdon.

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Why Do Families Matter?

Peter Fonagy - Chief Executive Officer of the Anna Freud Centre

As a society, we constantly worry about and problematise parents and we do this because we all know how much families - whatever form they take - matter. Perhaps the most powerful and convincing accounts of why families matter come from children who know what it's like to not have one, or to have lost or been temporarily separated from one. 

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Every Abused Child Needs Support - And They're Not Getting It

Peter Wanless - Chief Executive of the NSPCC

The NSPCC is determined to help and protect as many children as it possibly can from abuse and there is no better way than by stopping abuse quickly and ideally before it starts. While we are trying to protect children from abuse, and encouraging them to speak out, we need to make sure that the right help is there for them when they do muster the courage to come forward.

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It Takes a Whole Village to Raise a Child

Sir Tony Hawkhead - Chief Executive of Action for Children

All children face issues growing up, but for many, like those we support, there are additional and much tougher challenges, putting extra strain on their emotional wellbeing. They have to cope with difficult and often traumatic family problems, many are living in or soon to leave the care system to fend for themselves and others experience the impact of poor parental health or substance misuse.

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School Mental Health: Whose Problem?

Mina Fazel - Child psychiatrist and researcher

The evidence that mental health problems impact on school attendance and achievement has been demonstrated in a number of studies. Furthermore, difficulties in school and the pressures of academic attainment can also impact on mental health. Therefore the two are, if not interdependent, then very closely related.

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There Is No Health Without Mental Health

Catherine Roche - CEO of children's mental health charity Place2Be

When we work with primary schools across England, Scotland and Wales, children quickly pick up the importance of being aware of their own emotions. This 'emotional intelligence' equips them with the ability to understand, manage and articulate strong feelings, as well as knowing how to cope when things do not go their way.

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Being Bullied as a Child Still Hurts Me Today

Jody Thompson - Blogs Editor, The Huffington Post UK

As I grew up, there were many more instances where I was bullied. For being fat, for wearing glasses, for being a swot, for being a horse-crazy child who rode riding school ponies at Pony Club when all the posh, rich girls had their own. I wish there'd been somewhere to turn, an easy way at school to talk to my teachers. Apart from the love of my family and friends, there didn't seem to be any help available, let alone a professional ear to talk to. And that can't be healthy.

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Children Are Children - Even Online

Beeban Kidron - Film Director

Childhood has always involved negotiating social groups and personal disappointment - but the culture of constant interaction and speed of spread contribute to the unprecedented levels of anxiety, low self-esteem and for some self-harm - and every year the age at which these issues emerge drops further.
 

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Introducing Young Minds Matter

Stephen Hull - Editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post UK

On 17 February, Her Royal Highness, The Duchess of Cambridge, will join editors at HuffPost UK  as guest editor to specifically help raise awareness of this issue and help us launch Young Minds Matter. Using the hashtag #youngmindsmatter we will discuss the problems, causes and also most importantly the solutions to the stigma surrounding the UK's mental health crisis among children. Finding solutions is a core value of The Huffington Post globally, which we express through our What's Working approach to news.

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Introducing Young Minds Matter - With Some Help From the Duchess of Cambridge

Arianna Huffington

Today we're honoured and thrilled to welcome a very special guest editor, Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge. She'll be joining editors at HuffPost UK to launch Young Minds Matter, a new global initiative to raise awareness around mental health and children. Together, we want to open up the conversation around mental health - an issue that's too often stigmatised and discussed only in whispers, if at all.

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The Importance of Being a Reflective Parent

Sheila Redfern - Head of Specialist Trauma and Maltreatment at the Anna Freud Centre

The social environment of the family a child is raised is pivotal to how a child develops. One important feature within the family environment is how parents respond to their child, especially for parents to adopt a stance of being more reflective with their child. Often children won't tell their parents what they are feeling and so parents have to guess and it is helpful to start with the premise that all children's behaviour has meaning and intention - it is rarely random.

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Let's Make a Real Difference for an Entire Generation of Young Children

Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge

It is such a privilege to have this opportunity to be Guest Editor of the Huffington Post today, and to celebrate the amazing work being done to improve and understand the mental health of young children. Young Minds Matter, being launched today, is a new series where issues and work around the mental health of young children will be explored. Like most parents today, William and I would not hesitate to seek help for our children if they needed it. We hope to encourage George and Charlotte to speak about their feelings, and to give them the tools and sensitivity to be supportive peers to their friends as they get older. We know there is no shame in a young child struggling with their emotions or suffering from a mental illness.

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