Two amazing women; Samantha Maeer, project manager and Emily ‘Madge’ Payne, children’s author, both of whom I have the pleasure of knowing. They decided to take positive action and make a difference, having been driven by personal experience and the worries of parents: who told them stories of their own children’s emerging mental health problems under Covid enforced lockdown.
Through launching ‘Giant Leaper Learning Solution’ and ‘Rethink the Rainbow’, Emily and Sam reached out to a host of other professionals for support including writers, artists such as Grace Quansah, athletes, educators in the form of Kelly Hannaghan and Jane Bell, and mental health professionals like me. They’ve formed collaborations to help spread the message of empowerment. This flagship charity eBook ‘Re-think the Rainbow’ enables and supports young people and children to talk about their mental health, especially at this time.
This month is mental Health awareness month. The launch of ‘Rethink the Rainbow’ eBook is aimed to inspire children and show them that they don’t have to be afraid and that things will work out, even if it is not how they expected. Through submitting stories, poems, drawings, and mindfulness activities they share how they have overcome challenges in their personal lives. The authors, who come from a diverse age range and background, hope their stories will resonate with the readers and go some way to minimising any fears around opening the discussion on mental health issues.
The media has made much of the emerging mental health issues of adults during this time of the Covid 19 Pandemic. Whilst doing some research, I came across a statistic that stated 1 in 3 adults have mental health conditions that relate directly back to adverse childhood experiences. None of us could have imagined or foreseen living in this time of pandemic. We are experiencing global trauma, grief and loss on an unprecedented scale. We are confined to our homes with our children and family member, or no family members at all. That is why attending to the mental health of our children is even more important and urgent.
The playgrounds and parks now lie empty and the eerie absence of young voices up and down my local neighbourhood made me ponder. What must our children and young people be going through right now? If we, as adults, are struggling to adjust and cope with our new existence whilst attempting to remain on an even keel mentally, how on earth must our children be coping with their world as they knew it, disappearing literally overnight?
As May is Mental Health awareness month, now, more than ever is the right time to shine a light on children’s mental health. Let me share with you a few statistics that reveal the urgency of prioritising and helping young minds:
- In total, less than 1% of the entire NHS budget is spent on children and young people’s mental health services.
- 1 in 8 children have a diagnosable mental health disorder; that roughly equates to 3 children in every classroom.
- 1 in 6 young people aged 16-24 have symptoms of a common mental disorder such as anxiety and depression.
- Half of all mental health problems manifest by the age of 14 and 75% by the age of 24.
- The number of young people aged 18 and under with a recorded diagnosis of a psychiatric condition attending A&E has almost tripled since 2010.
These few shocking statistics further highlight the urgency for us all to attend to the mental health of our children and young people. We cannot leave it purely to social services and schools to intervene. As a community, we have to become creative and think outside the box as to how we can begin to have conversations around mental health and continue to raise awareness and engage with our children and young people in a manner that is emotionally supportive and engaging. The taboo and stigma and discussing mental health issues must stop. This is where the ‘Giant leaper Project’ has stepped up to the plate, by creating an eBook which supports children and families to talk about mental health. It is bursting with stories, poems and educational resources that can be used to support children in a fun and creative way both at home or in the classroom.
ALL proceeds from the sale of the eBook ‘Rethink the Rainbow’ will be donated to grass roots charities with a focus on supporting children and young people’s mental health.
Please support this timely and exciting initiative, driven by passion and the desire to make a difference in the best way they know how, to save our children.
Pre-Order your copy for £9.99 here https://iamagiantleaper.com/
Visit the following links to keep updated on progress on this great initiative.
Author – May Whyte, RNMH, BA (hons)
The Art of Mindfulness
Post Grad (Existential Psychotherapy), RNMH, BA (hons)
Mindfulness Teacher. (British Psychological Society Approved).
Award Winning Speaker 2018