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.


Mental Health Awareness Week


This week is Mental Health Awareness Week 2016 and the theme this year is Relationships.

Mental Health Foundation are calling on people to commit to maintaining good relationships with friends, family and colleagues.  They believe that we need to understand how important positive relationships are to our health and wellbeing. We cannot flourish as individuals and communities without them. In fact, they are as important as better-established lifestyle factors, such as eating well, exercising more and stopping smoking.

The charity are asking everyone to go the extra mile in prioritising their relationships. They are calling on people to make a relationship resolution to assess how much time we actively commit to building and maintaining good relationships, and to ask whether we can invest more in being present with and listening to friends, family and colleagues.

Looking Forward also believe in the importance of maintaining positive relationship with children and young people and their families and friends.  We continue to work with children who have suffered a breakdown in relationships either with family or friends whether it be due to a trauma, abuse or the loss of a loved one.  We also work with families to provide therapeutic services in order to build these relationships.

Relationships include: Fights, jealousy, arguments, faith, tears, disagreements – but a real relationship fights through all that with love. 




Self Harm… what does that mean??

Attention seeking… a cry for help…suicidal…

self harm picture 1

A quick google search provides the following definition:



deliberate injury to oneself, typically as a manifestation of a psychological or psychiatric disorder.


commit self-harm.


Self-harm is an umbrella term for any behavior, action or habit, which can cause damage to your health. This can include cutting, but also includes overeating, taking drugs, smoking and drinking too much alcohol. It’s a wide area that covers a whole range of actions and is most often done without suicidal intentions.

For many of the young people I see as part of my job self-harm is a way of managing the struggles they face and giving themselves enough control to be able to face the day, but sometimes after self-harming people can feel worse. Self-harm UK say ‘13% of young people may try to hurt themselves on purpose at some point between the ages of 11 and 16’ but it’s so difficult to get actual figures because many young people don’t ask for help, the most common method we come across is cutting (generally to the arms and legs). In this blog I don’t want to bore you with lots of stats or tell you how to ‘fix’ people, who self-harm because it’s not as simple as that, as part of my role as project worker I try to give simple advise to young people on how to manage their emotions and I’m going to share some of that advice with you.

Different Types of Self-harm


As I said before the most common form of self-harm I come across is cutting but there’s lots of different ways people self-harm, some of these are less obvious, such as putting yourself in risky situations, or not looking after your own physical or emotional needs.


Weating problems picture 1ays of self-harming can include:

  • cutting yourself
  • poisoning yourself
  • over or under-eating
  • burning your skin
  • inserting objects into your body
  • hitting yourself or walls
  • overdosing
  • misusing alcohol and drugs
  • exercising excessively
  • scratching and hair pulling


There are some Do’s and Don’ts if you know someone who is self-harming or has been thinking about self-harm…



  • Stay calm
  • Listen to how they are feeling and offer constructive advice
  • Continue with any plans or daily routines
  • Be supportive
  • Encourage them to seek help


  • Ask to see the cuts/injuries
  • Bribe them to stop
  • Remove all sharp objects from your home (this can make them feel alienated)
  • Take it personally
  • Tell them off
  • Avoid discussing it if they bring it up
  • Be offended if they feel more comfortable talking to a counsellor/other professional


And some simple Techniques for when someone feels they want to Self-harm:

  • Hit pillows or cushions, or have a good scream into a pillow or cushion to vent anger and frustration
  • Rub ice across your skin where you might usually cut, or hold an ice-cube in the crook of your arm or leg, you could also use red ice if this helps
  • Put elastic bands on wrists, arms or legs and flick them instead of cutting or hitting
  • Have a cold bath or shower
  • Use a red felt tip pen to mark where you might usually cut
  • Do some vigorous exercise like running, martial arts or swimming
  • Practice Mindfulness or Meditation


There is one thing that I always tell young people who self-harm You are not alone! Self-harm can become habitual and it isn’t easy to stop but there are people who can offer practical support and advice.

self harm picture 2

This is a list of organisations which you can turn to if you are struggling with self harm, you can also talk to a teacher or doctor who will be able to help you find support:

posted by claire
My name’s Claire, I’m a project worker for the Murray Hall Shield Programme. I also run the MENT4U volunteering programme as a part of Shield.


‘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

hi_big_e_lrg_blue-2 small

murray hall celebrating 20 years