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Monday, 8 October 2012

Mental Health Week

This week is Mental Health Week, it is such an important week to help raise awareness and reduce stigma around the illness.  Mental illness not only affects adults but also children.  I have teamed up with the wonderfully talented Nicky Johnston, author of the book 'Go Away Mr Worrythoughts' to bring some helpful tips on mental health in children.

1.Build a vocab with your child to help them describe what they are feeling – sore tummy, headache in the belly button, hot and cold at the same time, a fast speeding heart (all physical reactions to a thought). Help develop other descriptions, instead of ‘happy’ use ‘ecstatic’, instead of sad say ‘glum’ or ‘devastated’. Giving extremes will allow their vocab to grow as their understand of their own feelings does. 2.Keep a list of ‘happythoughts’. Write or draw things to remind them of feeling happy or excited. Special photos, stones, feather, gem, movie ticket can be a trigger for some ‘happy thoughts’. This will take practise, but the strategy “Change your thoughts to change your feelings” really works. 3.“Go Away, Mr Worrythoughts....Your thoughts are not welcome” is the mantra used in the book, repeat, repeat, repeat at every opportunity. Or create your own powerful words to say aloud. Say it together as a whole family – make it a ritual! This becomes an instant thought breaker and will shift the feelings of doom and gloom to fun and laughter!

For more tips and loads of resources head to Nicky's website here.

I had the privilege of reading her book Go Away Mr Worrythoughts.  Not only did I enjoy it and find it helpful but Miss P thoroughly enjoyed it.  She asked so many questions after, which is what I was hoping it would encourage.  The best thing was that after a few days she came to me and informed me she had some 'worryininging' (that's how she said it so I had to type it that way) thoughts but they didn't bother her because she just remembered the book we read.  Now I will be getting a copy myself so we can read it more often. The book is full of beautiful pictures to help with children's understanding.  It is so well written and aimed to help children with Generalised Anxiety Disorder or other anxiety issues.  Its so nice to read because it helps children recognise those feelings and deal with them in their own way.  They also realise their feelings are normal which is a big thing in mental health.  I highly recommend this book for anyone with children not just children with anxiety issues but it can honestly help all children.

We must keep having these conversation with our children, how they are feeling and really encouraging them to talk about their feelings.  We have to keep asking everyone we love how they are and especially the men in our lives who tend to be a bit more reserved about their feelings.  There are lots of events on this week for Mental Health Week and lots of ways you can help so visit their website here for more information.

Nicky has other books and resources to help in other areas of mental health.  She is doing an amazing job in helping our children overcome these feelings. Take a look at all of her resources and fabulous work.  Nicky just recently won AusMumpreneur Making a Difference” Award at 2012 Connect2Mums AusMumpreneur Business Awards, a huge honour and an outstanding achievement!

'Making A Difference' Award


Thanks to Nicky I have one signed copy of Go Away Mr Worrythoughts to give away!  Here's how to enter:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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