This Children’s Mental Health Week, young people in Kent are being invited to visit a new website designed to help keep them emotionally healthy – and there is a separate site aimed at helping parents support their children’s mental health too.
MoodSpark (www.moodspark.org.uk) has been developed for young people in Kent, with young people in Kent by HeadStart Kent, which sits within Kent County Council’s Children, Young People and Education Service. The Kent Resilience Hub, which can be found at www.kentresiliencehub.org.uk, is aimed at parents and carers but can be accessed by young people as well.
MoodSpark is a place where young people can learn about mental health, find tips and resources to keep emotionally healthy and find ways to help them bounce back when life gets tough.
The website, which is aimed at young people aged 10 to 16, was developed in response to many young people telling HeadStart they needed a trusted place to get information, advice and support on resilience and emotional health. The site will continue to grow, and young people are encouraged to submit content; everything from suggested chillout playlists to storyboards or things they have found helpful in difficult times. The young people’s editorial board will help the website grow. The board is a group of young people interested in the website’s content, in website development and design, or writing and creative processes. This group will continue to develop ideas for MoodSpark and approve content submitted by young people across the county for inclusion.
MoodSpark is already proving popular with some of its users.
Abigail, 14, from Folkestone, said: “I think the website is really good and it would really benefit young people who are struggling at home or in social life. It’s a really good way to stop people from thinking negatively.”
Elizabeth, 16, from Gravesham, added; “I really like how interactive MoodSpark is as there is a great deal of useful information and the overall layout is really easy to navigate. The whole website is very inviting.”
The Kent Resilience Hub has been designed to help parents and carers understand emotional health, how to nurture good emotional health and how to respond appropriately if their child is finding life difficult and unable to bounce back.
Following a survey of parents in Kent, HeadStart responded by providing information on the main topics parents had sought advice on regarding mental health. Parents said they wanted a better understanding of how resilience and emotional health work and what proactive or early reactive steps they could take themselves to support their families. This website will continue to grow, and parents are invited to submit content too – perhaps recommending articles, books or websites they have found helpful or sharing ways they have dealt with a difficult situation. There is also a comprehensive page on further support and access to help identify whether families need a bit more than the website can offer.
Parent Jo, from Canterbury, said: “This is a vital resource and it’s so helpful to have a list of services in Kent in one place. I’ve looked for ways to help my child but it’s hard to know where to start or what information is good. This is very much needed.”
Sue Chandler, Kent County Council’s Cabinet Member for Integrated Children’s Services, said: “It’s great that children and young people in Kent, and their families, now have two websites dedicated to promoting positive emotional health. Children’s Mental Health Week is the perfect opportunity to remind everyone to take care of their own mental health as well as supporting others in doing so. MoodSpark and the Kent Resilience Hub are brilliant tools to assist with this.”
Notes to journalists:
- Kent County Council was awarded £10 million to support young people’s emotional wellbeing and resilience over five years. The funding is from The National Lottery Community Fund, which is the largest funder of community activity in the UK
- HeadStart Kent is part of Children, Young People and Education Services and aims to help young people cope better when faced with difficult circumstances in their lives, preventing them from experiencing common mental health problems
- HeadStart Kent aims to make changes through schools, families and within communities and has been designed with young people at its heart to make young people’s mental wellbeing everybody’s business
- The HeadStart Kent Mission Statement was developed by young people and their families and is as follows: “By 2020 Kent young people and their families will have improved resilience, by developing their knowledge and lifelong skills to maximise their own and their peers’ emotional health and wellbeing; so to navigate their way to support when needed in ways which work for them.”
- Children and young people living in Kent, together with their parents, have told HeadStart Kent what support they need to build their resilience:
- My Wellbeing is not impacted by the pressure to achieve and be perfect
- There is always someone for me to talk to
- People around me understand wellbeing and how to promote it
The programme is on track to deliver the programme to the planned number of 133 schools over the five years
- The National Lottery Community Fund is the largest funder of community activity in the UK. It puts people in the lead to improve their lives and communities, often through small, local projects
- It is responsible for giving out 40% of the money raised by National Lottery players for good causes. Last year it awarded £583 million and supported around 12,000 projects across the UK for health, education, environment and charitable purposes
- Since June 2004 it has awarded over £8 billion to projects that change the lives of millions of people