Encouraging meaningful connections with Youth Mental Health Day

Published: 22nd Sep 2022

Birmingham Children’s Trust are supporting Youth Mental Health Day by reflecting on how relationships have changed since the pandemic and sharing discussions with young people.

Founded by stem4, Youth Mental Health Day encourages understanding and discussion of mental health in young people, enabling them to live happy and healthy lives all year round.

In research carried out my stem4, one in six 5-16-year olds have a diagnosable mental health disorder, with six in ten young people saying they are experiencing mental health difficulties such as anxiety, low mood, eating disorders, and self-harming behaviours. Yet only a third are able to access any effective treatment.

This year’s theme focuses on how young people can connect meaningfully by building and maintaining genuine connections and relationships.

Over the past two years, young people have had to experience many of their most formative experiences virtually—from joining a new school/college/university to celebrating a ‘big’ birthday. By focusing on the importance of meaningful connections and having a solid support system, Youth Mental Health Day 2022 will invite young people across the country to reflect on how their relationships (with family, friends, teachers etc.) have changed over the last couple of years, and share how they can make an effort to #ConnectMeaningfully to ensure they are fostering relationships that will support and positively impact their mental health.

stem4, a charity that supports young people to build positive mental health and founder of Youth Mental Health Day in the UK, have outlined things you can say or do to encourage a child or young person to #ConnectMeaningfully:

  1. Regularly spend time together outdoors. For example, go for a walk,play a ball game.
  2. Arrange regular fun days. For example, Magic Trick Learning Mondays, Tomato Recipe Tuesdays, Scary Story Saturdays.
  3. Create a family cookbook by collecting recipes you make together.
  4. Talk about family members and create a family tree.
  5. Learn something together, whether about a topic or a new skill.
  6. Make sure you eat dinner together.
  7. Talk about the board games they like to play.
  8. Put a selection of different topics into a lucky dip box to talk about at a weekend meal.
  9. Discuss all the things you’re grateful for and create a family gratitude journal.
  10. Select an interesting talk or podcast for the family to listen to and discuss once a month.
  11. Talk about possible difficult topics when in the car or doing a shared activity—non face to face communication is easier.