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Children’s mental health week

In this Children’s Mental Health Week, BBC Children in Need hopes through our impact programme A Million & Me, to bring  20/20 vision to our funding partnerships and the organisations we work with.

Paddy Sloan talking in front of a podium at a conference

Early action in supporting children and young people at the point when they are beginning to struggle with their mental health can enhance wellbeing, and give back control and confidence to 8-13 year olds who are going through a tricky time as they move from primary to secondary education and into teenage years.

We are funding community based projects where there are strong relationships between children and young people and trusted adults;  where children’s voices are heard;  where the positive contribution of digital platforms is promoted and monitored;  where expert information is provided in accessible and relevant formats to parents, carers, children and young people; where fun and friendship are nurtured and valued and where children feel safe.

The vital contribution of parents, carers , peers and trusted adults is both acknowledged and encouraged through the programme. Trust, love, care and kindness make it so much easier to open difficult conversations and with access to the right information at the right time, a child’s life path might be transformed.

Children and families are often coping with  a range of exclusion factors, social, cultural  and economic, or managing other insecurities.   When coping slips to struggling, children need some support.  Through A Million & Me with our partners in Boots, Immediate Media and colleagues in BBC, we want to ensure that accurate and helpful  information is there how, when, and where it’s needed. With Boots sharing advice with parents and carers and Immediate Media publishing child focused ideas for action, and through the role of the BBC to educate, inform and entertain, we want to give confidence to share concerns and where possible, to resolve them without clinical intervention.

A Million & Me is still exploring funding opportunities across the UK and we’ll be issuing a call for proposals over the next month hoping to identify partners with similar ambition offering innovative work towards systemic change that is scalable and sustainable. Through our relationship with the Centre for Mental Health we are monitoring and evaluating our output and the outcomes and learning from the groups we fund and we  look forward to sharing that learning. The Centre for Children’s Rights at Queen’s University is leading a participation project in Scotland with a group of 9-11 year olds who are informing and challenging A Million & Me and asserting their rights in the process.

There is a lot to do and a lot to learn.  We are keen to work with others and to engage closely with the BBC Children in Need portfolio of projects across the UK to listen and to ensure that everyone has the tools they need to change children’s lives.

Paddy Sloan, Director, A Million and Me

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