Child Mental Health: time for action is overdue

You may have picked up in the press that this week is Child Mental Health week.  It’s a subject close to my heart.  This isn’t because my children are suffering from serious mental ill health.  I admit that my daughter has been struggling with anxiety since starting secondary school but she isn’t mentally ill or in need of medical assistance –  yet.

No, it’s because I see the increasing pressure placed on children these days – in school and society – to be older than their years as a direct threat to their mental health.  Long term stress has been shown to be damaging to adults’ mental and physical health. The harm to children is expected to be even greater because childhood is meant to be a time for learning through play, fun, exploration and gradual learning of responsibility (see Save Childhood Movement‘s site for statistics and research). Continue reading

RIP Jo Cox MP – the death of a beautiful humanitarian & a true politician

I doubt there is anyone who has not felt appalled and sickened by the senseless murder of Jo Cox MP last week on the streets of her constituency.  Much has been written about it and will continue to do so over the coming days and weeks so I’ve been hesitant to write here, to add to the many words of analysis and condolence.

But as one who used to work in the sector Jo did before becoming an MP only 15 months ago, I want to express why I find this so hard, so sad, and yet also share a glimmer of hope.

© BBC images

© BBC images

Continue reading

The ‘Little Things’: Christmas Far From Home, Week 2

Aid worker sings Jason Mraz to refugeesThere’s a well-known saying in England that gets a good airing at this time of year.  You’ll hear it when a Granny opens a hand made gift by her grandchild, covered in glitter, a bit wonky and shrieking bright colours.  Or when a teenager offers voluntarily to put up the Christmas cards or make the guest bed up (yes, miracles do happen):

“It’s the little things that count” Continue reading

Salah’s story: Christmas Far From Home

Salah, Syrian refugee in Lebanon, World VisionMeet Salah.  He’s 12 years old and lives with his 4 siblings and parents in a refugee camp in Lebanon. They fled their home in Syria because of the terrible conflict ravaging that country.

Back in Syria he went to school, the family had a car, and lived in a house. In other words, he lived a life not dissimilar to my own 11 year old daughter and 9 year old boy.

This Christmas, he’ll be far from home and in desperate need. Continue reading

Carve a Heart for Halloween

imgID43269912.jpg-pwrt3As I write this, you’re most likely bracing yourself for the beastly annual task that is carving out a pumpkin. If you have more than one child, this may even extend to two or even three of the beasts. Aaagh.  Each year as I wash off the smelly orange stuff from half way up my arms, I wonder if its worth it.

This year, it will be very much worth it as we’re joining in again with World Vision’s ‘Carve a Heart’ campaign, where instead of a ghoulish face, we carve a heart. Why? To raise awareness, funds and spare several thoughts for the millions of children who live in real fear every night. Continue reading