Children’s Mental Health Week (5th – 11th February)

Children’s Mental Health Week, now in its 10th year, is an important time to raise awareness and support for the mental well-being of children/young people AND their parents/caregivers.

As a counsellor working with children/young people, it is crucial to provide understanding, and a safe space for them to express their thoughts and feelings:

Emphasise the importance of mental health

Just like our physical health, it’s essential to take care of our mental health. We all have emotions, and it’s okay to talk about them.

Normalise feelings

It’s completely normal to feel a wide range of emotions. Sometimes, it’s ok not to be ok. What matters is how we deal with those feelings.

Encourage open communication

Their thoughts and feelings matter.

Highlight strengths and resilience

They are stronger and more resilient than they may realize. Exploring their strengths can help them to overcome challenges.

Coping strategies

Working with the child/young person to find healthy ways to cope with stress and difficult emotions; maybe through deep breathing, mindfulness, or talking about what’s on their mind.

A positive self-image

Celebrating their uniqueness, strengths and accomplishments.


Seeking help for their mental health is a sign of strength, not weakness. There’s no shame in asking for support when they need it.

Support systems

Involving family, friends, or teachers in their conversations can be part of building their support network to make a positive difference to their lives.

Empowering through education

Understanding their thoughts and emotions can be empowering. With support, they can learn about how their minds work and develop strategies to navigate the challenges they face.


Taking care of themselves is crucial. Exploring activities that bring them joy and relaxation and make them feel happy

Counselling is a support for the parents and carers of children and young people too:

Parenting challenges

Parenting and caring is a challenging journey, and it’s ok to face difficulties. Encountering bumps along the way is ok.

Open communication

Creating an open and safe environment for your child to express their thoughts and feelings can encourage them to share with you, knowing that you are there to listen without judgement.


Supportive parenting can foster a strong sense of security and confidence in children and young people. Your words and actions contribute significantly to their mental well-being.


Effective communication is key. Listening actively, taking time to understand their perspective, and validating their feelings can strengthen your connection and build trust.


COVID-19 lockdowns affected the mental health of children/young people in many ways and one of these is their resilience to cope with life. You can help your child develop resilience by acknowledging their strengths and encouraging them to face challenges. Building resilience is a lifelong skill that can positively impact mental health.

Stigma and seeking help

It’s important to break down the stigma around mental health. Trusting yourself, if you notice changes in your child’s behaviour or emotions, and seeking professional support is a proactive and positive step.

Self-care for parents

Taking care of your own mental health is crucial. As parents or carers, practicing self-care not only benefits you but also sets a positive example for your children.

Let’s celebrate Children’s Mental Health Week ( and ‘My Voice Matters’. Available resources include:

Children’s Mental Health week 2024 and Mental Health Awareness week 2024 – BBC Teach

Children’s Mental Health Week 2024: toolkit of resources: Mentally Healthy Schools

Schools – Children’s Mental Health Week (

If this blog resonates with you, then please reach out to me via my contact me page.

Time to Talk Day – Thursday 1st February

Time to Talk Day is typically observed in the UK on the first Thursday in February – Thursday 1st February this year. It is an initiative to encourage open conversations about mental health with the primary aim to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health issues and to promote an environment where people feel comfortable talking about their mental well-being.

As a counsellor, you may think that of course I would promote this as it’s my role to listen to those who talk to me. Correct! However, talking to someone who is neutral and not directly involved in your life can have several benefits…..


Professional counsellors/ therapists are bound by confidentiality (within certain legal and ethical limits). This means that what you choose to share with them remains confidential. This assurance can enable you to feel more comfortable opening up about your struggles/thoughts/feelings.  


Sometimes, simply having someone acknowledge and validate how you are feeling is incredibly therapeutic. A counsellor/therapist can offer this without any preconceived notions or biases.


A neutral person can offer an unbiased perspective on your situation; an unbiased sounding post to reflect and clarify your position, if you will. Friends, colleagues and family members are incredibly important but they may be emotionally invested in your well-being which may sometimes cloud or colour their judgement.  A neutral party can offer a more objective and impartial viewpoint.

No personal agenda

A neutral person has no personal agenda or vested interest in the outcome of your situation. Thus, an environment is created where the focus is solely on your well-being and enabling you to bring about change or find solutions that work for you i.e. it is really ALL ABOUT YOU!

Safe environment

Speaking with someone neutral creates a safe and non-judgemental space for you. This can encourage you to truly express your feelings and emotions without fear of criticism or judgement or being misunderstood. Feeling heard and understood is crucial for mental well-being.


Mental health professionals, such as counsellors, have training and expertise in listening and supporting with a variety of mental health issues. They can help you to explore what coping mechanisms work for you in order to help you manage your challenges effectively. If they feel that they are unable to offer this support, they will be able to signpost you to other sources of help.

Let’s celebrate Time to Talk Day 2024 and promote that reaching out if you are suffering with your mental health can lead to you receiving help and support. If this blog resonates with you, then please reach out to me via my contact me page.

Blue Monday – 15th January

The third Monday in January is often known as, ‘Blue Monday’. The story around this is that this label was designed by travel agents in order to remind everyone that the holiday festivities were over, it’s time to get back to work and perhaps now was a good time to book a holiday.

However, there is no evidence to say that this Monday is any different to any other; good, bad or otherwise. How we feel on any given day is not necessarily for a calendar to decide.

Perhaps, as the Samaritans say, rather than ‘Blue’ Monday it could be #BrewMonday where you reach out and connect and listen to others over a cuppa of whatever you fancy!

Why is being listened to important?

What are the benefits of having someone, in particular a counsellor or therapist, really listen and attend to what you are saying? There are many. Read on to see some of the benefits.

Your validation and acknowledgement

Having someone really listen to what you are saying and hearing you provides a sense of validation and acknowledgement. It communicates to you that your thoughts, feelings, experiences and emotions are important and worthy of attention.


Actively listening fosters trust between you and the counsellor. When you feel truly heard, it creates a foundation of trust, which is essential for a therapeutic relationship to be formed and maintained. Thus, creating an environment where you feel able to share your thoughts and emotions.

Expressing your emotions

Listening allows you to freely express your emotions. Many people struggle to articulate their feelings, and having a non-judgmental listener can encourage you to open up and share how you are feeling.

Self-reflection and clarity

Through the process of verbalizing your thoughts, you can gain clarity about your own feelings and perspectives. This self-reflection can be a powerful tool for your personal growth and problem-solving.


Being listened to empowers you! It gives you a sense of control and agency in your own life, enabling you to feel that your voice matters and your choices are acknowledged.

Reducing feelings of isolation

The act of listening helps you to feel less isolated. Sharing your thoughts and experiences with a compassionate listener can break the cycle of loneliness and create a connection.

Reducing stress

When you feel heard, it can significantly reduce your stress. Expressing yourself and feeling understood can provide a sense of relief and contribute to your overall emotional well-being.

Improving your problem-solving

Through effective listening, counsellors can help you explore your thoughts and feelings, which facilitates a deeper understanding of any issues you are experiencing. This, in turn, contributes to more effective problem-solving and decision-making for you.

Your emotional release and catharsis

Being listened to allows you to release pent-up emotions. It provides you with a safe space for catharsis, helping you to let go of emotional burdens that may be affecting your mental health.

Promoting positive relationships

The ability to listen is crucial for building and maintaining your positive relationships. Whether in counselling or everyday life, active listening fosters understanding and connection.

Respect and dignity for you

Listening is an act of respect. It communicates that your thoughts and feelings are valued, contributing to a sense of dignity and worthiness.

In summary, being listened to is a continuous process and is a fundamental aspect of effective counselling, providing a myriad of psychological and emotional benefits that contribute to your personal growth and well-being.

Please reach out to me via the contact page, if you would like to be listened to and heard.