Taking control and managing your feelings and anxiety can be a really positive step forward in looking after your mental health. WorryTree is a simple mobile app that helps you to record and manage worry wherever you are. WorryTree asks you to record whatever you're worrying about and takes you through a few short steps to decide whether it's a worry you can control. It then creates an action plan. The app designed to work alongside Cognitive Behavioural Therapy but you can use it as a standalone worry-recording app.
Northamptonshire Healthcare Foundation Trust offer a free, 24/7 helpline giving advice on local support and services you can access to address mental health issues that you, your family or someone you know may be experiencing. You can call one of their navigators, anytime of the day or night, on
Sonia Murray Director/Play Therapist/Education Consultant Positive Behaviour Support that makes the difference
Books for Wellbeing
Wellbeing Book Recommendation
An internationally respected campaigner, Pooky Knightsmith has worked tirelessly to promote good child and adolescent mental health. Her knowledge, ideas and advice come not just from years of research and study, but from hard earned experience with PTSD, anorexia, self-harm and depression.
Part mental health guide, part memoir, this book contains 48 life lessons learned from everyday victories to life-changing events. Pooky shares tips on how to avoid burnout, how small acts of self-care can make a big difference, steps you can take to live with anxiety, and how to nurture key friendships and relationships, amongst many other things. Each lesson ends with space for the reader to reflect, and includes exercises to help take the first steps to incorporating these lessons into their own lives.
Unflinching and utterly authentic, Pooky shares the things she got wrong so that you don't have to.
‘Such a valuable and practical guide to taking care of your most precious asset - your mental health. Filled with immediately relevant advice, based on a disarming and always honest reflection on life, this book will help huge numbers of people.’ -- Pete Wharmby, autistic author and advocate
Wellbeing Building resilience in children and teens
Helping our children build resilience and confidence is one of the most important gifts we can give them. We all understand how life can bring you many challenges throughout and how important it is on how we manage this. Resilience is being able to manage stress, challenges, trauma or adversity that life brings and bounce back from it. When children and teens are resilient, they are going to be more confident, curious and adaptable to the world around them.
Help them build positive relationships with their friends and other adults.
Help them learn to be independent in their actions and thoughts.
Encourage them to understand, express and manage their emotions.
Help them build their confidence by taking on challenges and allow them to learn from it even if they do not manage to complete the challenges
At Family Lives, we do understand how different each situation is. If you would like further support and advice, call us on 0808 800 2222 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can talk to us online via our live chat service, which is open, Monday to Friday between 1.30pm and 9pm. You can also use our online forums to talk to other parents and share experiences.
FOCUS On The Go!, FOCUS stands for Families Overcoming Under Stress, and this app aims to teach resilience- a key part of mental wellbeing – to every member of the family. It helps your child develop five essential skills: problem-solving, goal-setting, communication, emotional regulation, and managing trauma and stress. (FREE APP)
Mind Moose (https://www.mindmoose.co.uk ) is a web app. Children go on a journey of discovery with Mind Moose and his animal friends. They explore more about themselves and different coping mechanisms so that in times of stress they know what helps them relax and what makes them feel happy. (FREE RESOURCE)
Try this interactive game called “Crucial Crew”. The game has been created by North Yorkshire Police for Years 5/6 but could still be accessed by younger KS2 children. It takes the form of a character who goes through a series of risky and unsafe situations and has to make a decision based on three options each time. Subjects covered include internet safety, water safety, electricity safety, fire safety, road safety, gas safety. The game is accessed atwww.crucial-crew.org.uk
Wellbeing for All
Although traditionally Christmas is seen as a time for joy and celebration with our families, it can be a difficult time for many of us.
Mind offer some practical advice and tips on how to cope with the lead up to Christmas, as well as Christmas itself. They give support to those dealing with loss, loneliness, financial burden, anxiety, loved ones in hospital and the impact of Covid.
Spending time in nature can make you feel happier and healthier, and after the year we’ve all had, everyone deserves to take a moment for themselves, whilst enjoying our wonderful winter wildlife. From feeding the birds to walking off your Christmas dinner in the woods, doing these small, Random Acts of Wildness can help to cure your winter blues!
The government Household Support Fund aims to support households most in need of financial support this winter. Applications for a grant from the fund will be accepted from 1st December 2021 until 31 March 2022, or until advised.
This is a national scheme providing financial support to households struggling with the cost of living over the winter period. This covers a wide range of vulnerable households including those with or without children. The support fund is built around 3 support schemes:
School Holiday Food Vouchers- giving food vouchers during the school holidays directly to the parents or guardians of children living in low-income homes.
Household Hardship Vouchers – supporting residents facing financial hardship with supermarket vouchers to buy food, essentials, and support household budgets to pay essential bills.
Winter Fuel Bank – keeping the heat and light on in homes which have pre-payment energy meters by sending emergency top-up vouchers to households who lack the means to maintain supply. Please remember, you can also contact your energy supplier for additional support in the event of severe hardship.
Our Community Larders are open to EVERYONE! We operate a membership programme that provides access to surplus groceries at heavily discounted rates. A consistent supply chain is guaranteed due to our subscription to SOFEA, a charity that works closely with FareShare, to distribute surplus food from supermarkets and businesses. We also work with local businesses helping to keep food waste in our area as low as possible. Membership starts from £5 per week. Please see www.towfood.org.uk/larder for full details.
Reading Well for children is a brilliant website that provides information, stories and advice to support children’s mental health and wellbeing. The books listed have been chosen by leading health professionals alongside children and their families.
The booklist is targeted at children aged 7-11 to read independently but can be shared as a family to open up those discussions surrounding mental health and wellbeing.
All books should be available to borrow from your local library.
Mental Health Awareness Week (10th to 16th May 2021)
This week is Mental Health Awareness Week (10th to 16th May 2021). This year, the focus is about immersing yourself in the '5 Ways to Wellbeing', while reconnecting with nature – something fitting, after a year where we have seen more of our four walls in our homes than the four seasons. You are invited to reconnect with nature and the environment and, as we are mindful that everyone will be in a different place of comfort, you need to do this in a way that works for you. We know that one week will not ‘fix’ mental health difficulties, but it is a starting point and a way of you being aware of what others may be experiencing and also what you, yourself, may be feeling but have not been able to share.
In order to access daily content around the Five Ways to Wellbeing (5W2W) across Mental Health Awareness Week (including specially sourced blogs, podcasts, tips and advice for the week, help to build in actions around the 5W2W into your daily life) you can sign up on:
At school, we will also be taking part in a range of activities to encourage wellbeing and to support children in understanding that it is ok not to be ok and to share how you are feeling inside is a normal and healthy action. We will, as usual, be having our daily ZenTen and regular ‘Be Active’ sessions and for this week, these will be outside in nature as much as possible.
Screen Savers: Looking after your eyes, body and mind when using screens
We are spending more time online than ever before, possibly sitting and working with poor posture as we use makeshift desks and chairs. There is a tendency to take fewer breaks and less exercise and this is affecting our physical well-being.
Beacon House the specialist, therapeutic service for young people, families and adults has produced a series of six posters outlining ways to keep safe and alert when working at home, whether children or adults.
Young Minds have also created a useful poster highlighting ways to give support to children when they have angry feelings or outbursts and may help families start a conversation and talk about each other’s feelings.
The School Nursing text service Chathealth will remain open over Christmas You can send a text via ChatHealth for confidential and anonymous advice on all kinds of health issues, like emotional health, sexual health, healthy eating and any other general health concerns. This service is available for young people aged 11-19 and the parents or carers of primary age pupils.
There will be a school nurse on duty from 9am to 4pm each day, except weekends and bank holidays.
ChatHealth, the school nurse messaging service, is confidential and available Monday to Friday from 08.00 to 16.30. We are expanding this service to provide a messaging service for parents and carers of school aged children and young people, as well as young people. You can message for advice on all kinds of health issues concerning your child or young person, such as emotional health and wellbeing, bullying, healthy eating, sexual health and any general health concerns. Look out for more information from your child or young person’s school.
The text number for ChatHealth Northamptonshire is;
There is no charge for this service.
Service Six - Wellbeing and Happiness for Families
There are many wellbeing activities, guides and resources for children and families at
Mental Health and Young People - Relevant websites
Annie Everall OBE, of Authors Aloud UK, reviews young children’s books related to wellbeing and resilience.
We all know that books can inspire children and foster their love of reading, can help them learn new facts, explore or come to terms with situations they are dealing with in their lives and support their growth and development. On June 10th we celebrated Empathy Day https://www.empathylab.uk/empathy-day. Empathy Day aims to spark a national conversation about building a more empathetic society, and help young people learn more about empathy and put it into practice. This first Book Talking piece focuses on picture books that support empathy, are ideal for sharing with children and that aim to help the reader validate their own emotions, understand what is like to be a child in a war torn city, celebrate love, friendship and community and also just experience the joy of being a child.
Never Grow Up
Inspired by Roald Dahl
Illustrated by Quentin Blake
Puffin £12.99 2021
This full-colour picture book is Inspired by the magic and mischief of Roald Dahl stories and features wonderful new illustrations by Quentin Blake, whose pictures have always captured the humorous essence of Roald Dahl’s stories. Written in rhyme ’This book is for the kind of child – Who’s SILLY, mischievous and WILD – Who wants to grow to TEN FEET TALL – Without GROWING UP at all’ It celebrates mischief – makers and rule – breakers and tells children right from the front cover ’Are you a child who’s good as gold? – Do you do everything you’re told? Then this is not the book for you…’ What it is really doing is encouraging children to think outside the box and to grow up to be curious, inventive, daring, creative and to never lose that sense of wonder, playfulness and fun that we experience as children. Quentin Blake says in his introduction to the book, that Roald Dahl always said ‘never grow up, always down’ which in essence means that as we grow into adults, we should always remember what it is like to be a child. There is much enjoyment to be had in the story and through the pictures, but the book offers lots to talk about with children and can also lead them into exploring Roald Dahl’s books if they haven’t already done so. It is a book to remind every grown up to throw off their sensible shawl and re-discover their inner child and to let children know – not to lose theirs as they grow up!
For ages 6+
A Shelter for Sadness
Written by Anne Booth
Illustrated by David Litchfield
Templar £12.99 2021
Sadness comes to live with a small boy and he creates a safe space for his sadness. He builds a shelter for it and sometimes it is big, sometimes small, sometimes quiet and still and sometimes very loud and noisy. There are times when the boy will visit the shelter when he needs to and can talk to it or cry or say nothing at all. The boy knows that one day Sadness may come out of the shelter, and together they will look out at the world, and see how beautiful it is. Anne Booth was inspired to write the book by the words of Esther ‘Etty’ Hillesum, a Holocaust victim, who wrote: ‘Give your sorrow all the space and shelter in yourself that is its due, for if everyone bears grief honestly and courageously, the sorrow that now fills the world will abate. But if you do instead reserve most of the space inside you for hatred and thoughts of revenge – from which new sorrows will be born for others – then sorrow will never cease in this world. And if you have given sorrow the space it demands, then you may truly say: life is beautiful and so rich.’ This is an extraordinary picture book. David Litchfield’s illustrations are stunning and work in perfect harmony with Anne Booth’s text, creating an outstanding book, exploring both the nature of sadness and helping children understand the importance of making time and space for their own sadness. This is particularly important in our current times when many children may have experienced sadness and loss. The underpinning message of the book is that sadness is part of being human and can exist alongside happiness. It is a book that can open up difficult conversations with young and older children and a useful tool to support empathy, emotional literacy and mental health.
For ages 5+
How Do You Make A Rainbow
Written by Caroline Crowe
Illustrated by Cally Johnson – Isaacs
Macmillan Children’s Books £6.99 2021
A small child asks her Grandfather on a grey gloomy day how you make a rainbow and whether you paint them on the sky. He tells her that you make them grow out of kindness and hope – it’s your friends, jam on toast, the glow you feel inside when you make someone proud and a hundred and one other small things. The last message of the book is ‘Find the sunshine that’s inside you and a rainbow starts to grow’ and then you’ll see your rainbow. A delightful rhyming picture book that reads aloud well and offers a warm re-assuring message for young children at a time when it is most needed. The warmth of the relationship between child and grandparent shines through the story, highlighting its own rainbow. Bright colourful illustrations work well with the text as does the colour palette chosen for each double page spread. The last few pages encourage children to make their own rainbows of the things they love.
For ages 3+
The Last Garden
Written by Rachel Ip
Illustrated by Anneli Bray
Hodder £12.99 2020
In a war-torn country, Zara tends her garden – the last one that hasn’t been destroyed by bombs. All the local children play in it and help tend it, until the day comes when the violence of war has escalated, it isn’t safe in the city anymore and the community has to leave. Eventually the war ends, and the community can return to their homes. Although fearful of what they might find, to their joy they discover that through all the time they were gone, Zara’s garden continued to grow. With their love and care they are able to bring the garden and their city back to life. The message of the book is really powerful and will give children hope that even in the darkest of times, things can get better – a message that is very appropriate today. It is also perfect to help children develop empathy and understanding for those children experiencing living in a war or having to leave their homes. The illustrations work in great harmony with the text and their visual depiction of children and a community experiencing war is very moving. Design, layout, text and illustrations combine to provide an outstanding book, one that opens up many opportunities for conversations with children and one that deserves a wide audience.
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