Whats Affecting Our Child’s Mental Health & Wellbeing?

Mental health problems affect about 1 in 10 children and young people. They include depression, anxiety and conduct disorder, and are often a direct response to what is happening in their lives.

Alarmingly, however, 70% of children and young people who experience a mental health problem have not had appropriate interventions at a sufficiently early age.

The emotional wellbeing of children is just as important as their physical health. Good mental health allows children and young people to develop the resilience to cope with whatever life throws at them and grow into well-rounded, healthy adults.

Things that can help keep children and young people mentally well include:

  • being in good physical health, eating a balanced diet and getting regular exercise
  • having time and the freedom to play, indoors and outdoors.
  • being part of a family that gets along well most of the time.
  • going to a school that looks after the wellbeing of all its pupils
    taking part in local activities for young people.Other factors are also important, including:

Other factors are also important:

  • feeling loved, trusted, understood, valued and safe
  • being interested in life and having opportunities to enjoy themselves
  • being hopeful and optimistic
  • being able to learn and having opportunities to succeed
  • accepting who they are and recognising what they are good at
  • having a sense of belonging in their family, school and community
  • feeling they have some control over their own life
  • having the strength to cope when something is wrong (resilience) and the ability to solve problems.

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.

See more about Children and Young People Mental Health Wellbeing at Mental Health Foundation

Looking Forward work with schools to help children and young people to deal with issues around loss/separation, domestic violence and abuse through various creative therapies including Play, Drama, Art, Counselling and Hypotherapy.

We also work with family to improve their mental wellbeing through Drama Therapy.

Dont feel you have to suffer alone, if you need advice or some support please contact us 01902 826306.


Congratulations to HeadStart!


Looking Forward would like to congratulate HeadStart in Wolverhampton on securing multi-million pound funding from the Big Lottery Fund to extend its programme for a further 5 years.

HeadStart was set up in 2014 to deliver special resilience training to children and young people, helping them deal with change, build relationships and tackle problems which could cause depression and anxiety.

The boost will see HeadStart work in schools to help young people with emotional issues know where to get support and raise awareness of the importance of mental health.

Looking Forward is excited to know that emotional and mental health well-being services are continuing to be developed in the West Midlands.

Looking Forward is Big Lottery funded programme within Murray Hall Community Trust to address the emotional and mental health needs of children and young people living in Sandwell.

LFlogohi_big_e_min_blkmurray hall celebrating 20 years

What is Play/Creative Therapy?

play therapy 1Play/creative therapy is a form of counselling whereby the therapist utilises a variety of play and creative arts techniques to help the young person explore and work through things that may be bothering them. These could be things that are happening in the present or those that have happened in the past.  The therapist supports the young person in trying to make sense of their life experiences and helps them to find strategies for coping with the difficulties that they face.

Play therapy is particularly useful and effective for young people who cannot or do not want to talk about their problems as they can use the mediums to express themselves without the need to talk.

Play/creative therapy may be non-directive in nature where the young person decides what to do in the session, directive, where the therapist leads the way or a combination of the two.

The aim of play/creative therapy is to enable the young person to express and acknowledge their thoughts and feelings in a constructive way within a non-judgmental, supportive environment. Few limitations or boundaries are put into place in order for the young person to feel able to play, create and express themselves freely.  It is therefore important that a confidential, safe space is provided for the young person to work with the therapist.

What is the play/creative therapy toolkit?puppet

The therapist is trained to use a variety of different mediums to help the young person to express and explore their feelings and emotions. These mediums are called the toolkit and include:

Sand tray and figures


Art materials including clay


Story telling

Drama, dressing up and role play

Creative visualisation

Movement and dance

We Need You!

  Young Persons Steering Group

Click to Download the Application Form

Looking Forward is now ready to Launch its Young Persons Steering Group

We want any Young Person aged between 11 and 21 who feels strongly about mental health & emotional well-being issues to apply. The group should represent all Children & Young People in Sandwell so we want as diverse a set of applicants as possible. You don’t need to have experience of emotional well-being services but you do need to be hard working, committed & passionate.

As a member of the steering group you will represent children & young people giving them a voice when it comes to health & emotional well-being, have the opportunity to influence & shape services & effect policy & commissioning. We also want to help you address the emotional well-being & mental health issues you feel are important to children & young people, whether they are local or national.

We are currently looking for Young People who are interested in working with Looking Forward to design & promote the Steering Group. As one of the steering groups initial members you will have a direct influence over how it is governed & run, & how the steering group operates in the future.

For more information on the Steering Group or to find out how to apply please:

email LookingForward@greatbridge.org.uk or follow the links above.

‘Change the Game’ Training Dates

We are proud to announce two upcoming training dates for our redesigned creative and expressive ‘Change the Game’ Training.

The 2nd  and the 3rd of December 2014, to be held at The Bridge, St Marks Road, Tipton, DY4 0LU.

The course costs £99, runs from 9:30 am to 4:00 pm and lunch will be provided. The day will be packed full of activities and games to give you a hands on learning experience so expect lots of physical activity and to be a out of your comfort zone.

Email LookingForward@greatbridge.org.uk to book your spot.

Remember that we only have 8 spaces available for each day so book now to ensure you get your place!

Click here to download our Change the Game Flyer and Booking Form


Looking Forward Sandwell

 Looking Forward is an emotional well-being service for children and young people (5-18)  living in Sandwell.

We offer FREE on-line counselling and face to face support.

Our face to face support includes, dramatherapy, play therapy, and counselling.

Our on-line counselling is delivered in partnership by Kooth.com.  To access this service simply go to http://www.kooth.com

For more information about all our services  call 01902 826306

This is a Big Lottery Funded Project

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murray hall celebrating 20 years