Children’s mental health charity Place2Be has launched My Voice Matters to give a voice to children and young people across the UK.
The organisation’s children’s mental health awareness week began on February 5, seeking to empower and equip young people to talk about their mental health struggles.
Schools will host activities with celebrity ambassadors and hand out tools and resources to encourage pupils to express themselves in different ways, including a non-uniform day at the end of the week.
Jacqueline Vaughan, Place2Be’s London and West Regional Director said: “This week is all about encouraging children to express who they are and how they feel.
“On February 9 our schools will have a non-uniform day and they can wear whatever they wish and go in as whoever they feel that they are on that particular day.
“It’s important that mental health isn’t viewed as something that shouldn’t be talked about, because the more we discuss it the more we can help.
“It’s about addressing and identifying these issues before they escalate which we are seeing a lot more of in both our secondary and our primary schools.”
Place2Be is a leading children’s charity which operates in nearly 500 schools across the UK, working closely with teachers, children, and their families.
The organisation’s fundamental value is early intervention which seeks to identify and address the root of mental health struggles before they surge.
Many schools are unable to fund mental health support due to budget constraints, which adds pressure on teachers.
The charity seeks to provide essential continuation of care within school settings to assist teachers in classrooms in listening and understanding their pupils.
Outside of classrooms, they communicate with parents and guardians, helping them to initiate discussions around mental health with their children at home.
In November 2023, the NHS released data that one in five children now experience mental health conditions.
Prior to that, it was one in six children and before the pandemic it was one in ten, reinforcing a significant increase in the last few years.
Research shows that 50% of probable mental health disorders develop before the age of 14.
In January, MP Munira Wilson, the Liberal Democrats’ spokesperson of Education, introduced a Schools’ Mental Health Bill to Parliament which would place a dedicated mental health practitioner in every school.
Wilson said: “We must do everything in our power to ensure that every child arrives at school happy, healthy, and ready to learn and thrive.
“This Bill is an investment in our future, and we owe it to the generation of young people.
“Early intervention is crucial.”