Making connections is this year's theme for Children's Mental Health Week This week (6-12 February) is Children's Mental Health Week which is run by children’s mental health charity Place2Be. The week aims to shine a light on the importance of children and young people’s mental health. This year’s theme is #LetsConnect Human beings are intrinsically connected to each other, and human connection is vital for the wellbeing and survival of all individuals. People with positive connections to family, friends and others often experience better mental health than those who are less well connected. Let’s Connect is all about forming positive connections with others. Making healthy, rewarding and meaningful connections For Children’s Mental Health Week 2023, Place2Be is encouraging children (and adults) to connect with others in healthy, rewarding and meaningful ways. As a parent or carer, you can play an important role in supporting your child with social interactions and establishing healthy friendships. Place2Be’s Programme Leader for Family Work, Judah Racham, has shared some tips in blog: 'Five ways to support your child to make friends'. The Early Help System The Early Help System is a way for all families, children and young people to engage in early conversations about what help and support they may need in every aspect of their lives. As everyone’s journey is different, Birmingham Children's Partnership has created a directory which provides information about local organisations that can support with health, out of school activities, physical and mental wellbeing, social care, leisure activities, domestic abuse and education, to name a few. It may help to enable all citizens to move towards making positive changes at a time that is right for you. Search for local services and activities Barnardo's Early Help Mentoring and Befriending Service Barnardo's offers mentoring and befriending support to Birmingham residents aged 11-19 (and up to 25 with additional needs) who are struggling with a particular issue in their life or want to work toward goals on one or more of the following areas: Health and Wellbeing inc. recreation and sport Education and Training Family and Relationships Coping Strategies Aspirations and Interests Download a leaflet (pdf) to find out more. Kooth: online service to help young people's mental health Kooth is a new FREE, safe and anonymous service to support young people’s emotional and mental health in Birmingham. Children and young people can gain access to Kooth by completing a quick and easy online self-referral at www.kooth.com. Examples from the VCSFE early help offer Compass Support... In early January a community connector met with pastoral team at school to discuss a number of families and what support was available to them. A common theme was anxiety, this was starting to have an impact on their school attendance, with a number of children having been identified as school refusers. Community connector recommended that the school team request a STICK consultation for the families, allowing the staff to get input from a mental health professional who could advise on how best on support the young people. At a follow up session with the school three weeks later the school stated “following on from our previous meeting we have made lots of STICK referrals and found these very useful. We have seen positive outcomes for several families.” Sparkbrook Children's Zone... At Sparkbrook Children’s Zone, we are lucky to work very closely to Pause (Children’s Society) who run their drop-in sessions on Thursday from 10:30 – 15:30. Our team have supported Pause staff during their sessions with young people, through completing Family Connect Forms (FCFs) once they have spoken with the Pause staff. On the flipside, if a family have come in to see the GPs, and the GPs have then brought the families into our Early Help room to speak with our team, we can then walk with the family or young person to Pause’s drop-in room downstairs, and within an hour, that family have benefitted from both health, EH and mental health supported, all from a 10 minute GP appointment.We have supported families as a result of FCF being completing during a Pause drop-in, helping signpost to SEND organisations, housing consultations and parenting support.