The present situation
According to the Mental Health Foundation, most children grow up mentally healthy, but surveys suggest that more children and young people have problems with their mental health today than 30 years ago. That’s probably because of changes in the way we live now and how that affects the experience of growing up. Evidence shared by organisations such the Mental Health Foundation and Place2Be shows that in the UK one in ten children aged between 5 and 16 years (three in every classroom) has a mental health problem and many continue to have these problems into adulthood. Over half of all mental ill health starts before the age of 14 years, and 75% has developed by the age of 18. Ethnic minority children are less likely than their white counterparts to access traditional mental health services, according to new research. By adulthood, issues can be common. Facts from Mind show that one in four adults will experience a mental illness at some point each year in the UK, while Calm exists to prevent male suicide, the single biggest killer of men under 45 in the UK. Children who live with or who are brought up by people struggling with their own mental health are surely affected. On 4th December 2017, the government published a green paper setting out its plans on children’s mental health, with this response from the shadow health and education secretaries. The charity Young Minds has also shared their view on the proposals and set out the action it thinks we need to take as a nation.
The emotional wellbeing of children is just as important as their physical health and in order to achieve this balance, more needs to be done. Mind Hug is a new story-led range aiming to help children grow up well. It's all about gently guiding and promoting wellbeing and good mental health from an early age, encouraging healthy habits of mind and emotional literacy. Our first title is out now – it's called Mind Hug: The first story.
A universal need
How can we give children the tools they need for mental resilience? Why not start early with our efforts? The Mind Hug range is being created in response to these questions. Our universal approach is intended to help develop wellbeing in all children. Let's try to prevent mental health problems growing in young minds and be part of the solution if they do.
The power of story
Good stories are arguably the most valuable way to communicate ideas and provide gentle learning. We are working with creative writers and artists to make fresh, imaginative and absorbing stories to introduce important concepts in a fun way. These stories will be at the core of our publishing programme.
Key concepts from Mind Hug stories will be extended into activity and guide books, as well as audio content. The mix of print and digital resources is for families, teachers and mental health service professionals.
Behind Mind Hug is our brain trust – a network of specialist consultants from different areas of the mental health and educational sectors. Nothing is published without the approval of qualified professionals.