Today marks the beginning of Place2Be's Children’s Mental Health Week and this year’s theme is ‘Growing Together’.

Growing Together is about growing emotionally and finding ways to help each other grow. Following this theme, Family Liaison Practitioner, Liz Cranham, has shared a blog discussing the support she offers to children and young people at Demelza:

“As part of my role, as a Family Liaison Practitioner, I provide sibling support to children between five and 18 years old. Demelza provides a weekly sibling group, every Wednesday, via Zoom during term time.
This is a chance for siblings to meet virtually with other children and young people who are in a similar situation, providing a safe, non-judgmental space for them to come together, share thoughts, feelings and have some fun, playing games and completing activities.

"I also offer sibling 1:1 sessions for children and young people who might be struggling with their thoughts or emotions which may have an impact on their mental health. These sessions can be virtual or delivered face to face. During these sessions, the young person and I will explore their thoughts, emotions and worries, and we will work together to develop coping strategies. I will also help the young person to develop their knowledge and understanding of why they might be feeling a particular way and what made them feel that way.

"The sessions are also a safe space where the young person can express themselves freely with no judgement. During these sessions, young people may express that they are feeling low, worried, anxious or angry. For some young people, these feelings may be brought on due to their sibling having an unexpected hospital stay, often this means that a parent is also out of the family home and in hospital with the sibling. In some cases, the young person will go and stay with relatives which has a huge impact on their routine and may cause uncertainty, which will affect the way the young person feels."

A body map used during sibling support sessions, with colours representing emotions.
"Some of the activities that we may do during these sessions will include body mapping feelings, this is an activity where the young person will colour or draw where they feel a particular feeling in their body."

"For example, one young person chose to colour the hand on the body map as red as this is where they felt angry. Following on from that session we then spoke about coping strategies and made small 'things that help when…' cards. On these cards we thought of different ideas for what they can do when they are feeling angry - the ideas we came up with included having a snack, going for a walk or playing with a fidget toy."

Place2Be's Children's Mental Health Week website offers a wide range of free resources for parents and carers - from top tips to practical advice.