Another week, another round of stories about the state of mental health care in Britain – this time focussing on the children.
To mark Children’s Mental Health Week there have been countless stories and features highlighting the issues; children sent miles from home to receive vital mental health treatment, rising numbers of diagnosis, services stretched to breaking point, new Childlike statistics citing a 36% rise in the number of young people calling about mental health issues, with 1 in 6 of all Childline counselling sessions were focused on these mental health issues.
It’s grim reading.
And yet I have to believe there is hope.
The Church of England alone see over 100,000 children regularly on a Sunday – not including those we come into contact with through children’s groups and activities and we have a chance to come alongside them – not as cures, but as companions, showing them they are loved and pointing them to the God who became man to welcome the children to Him.
We might not be able to solve the problem of mental illness but we can provide community and elements of shalom to struggling children and their families.
Consider holding an event to encourage good mental health in parents at your local Mum and Toddler group, think about establishing a mentoring scheme for the children your church comes into contact with or host an event for parents of teenagers so they can exchange wisdom and support one another.
For more information on Children’s Mental Health Week and how you can be involved check out https://www.place2be.org.uk.