AS we mark Mental Health Awareness week from May 18 to 24, I think it’s important to reflect on this year’s theme of kindness, and how it plays into managing the mental health and wellbeing of our children and ourselves.

Realising that your child may be struggling with their mental health and experiencing anxiety or depression can be hard to accept.

Sometimes parents can feel like it’s their fault or want to know why their child is struggling with a mental health problem.

This is completely understandable but the most important thing you can do is to reassure your child and not judge them for how they’re feeling.

Lockdown is impacting children and their mental health, in many ways. Some may feel trapped indoors or lonely from not seeing their friends, teachers and family as often as they used to.

Others may be anxious about the virus and some may just feel upset by how overwhelming the whole situation is.

The coping techniques that children normally use to boost their wellbeing are no longer available to them.

Their routines have been turned upside down and they have lost many of their social events and support systems.

Remember, you can always signpost children to Childline. They can call for free on 0800 1111 or go online at Childline.org.uk for a 1-2-1 chat.

It’s also important to be kind to yourself. It’s key that you take care of yourself and get support if you need to, even if that is just by talking to a friend or family member.

You can call us for free on 0808 800 5000 or email help@nspcc.org.uk.

Helen Westerman

Head of Safeguarding in Communities at the NSPCC