What is Children’s Mental Health Week?
Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week will take place from 5 to 11 February 2024, with the theme of My Voice Mattters. It was set up by children’s mental health charity Place2Be and shines a spotlight on the importance of children and young people’s mental health.
We're developing new resources designed to help children reflect on wellbeing for ages 5 to 7 (KS1/First level/Progression step 2) and ages 7 to 11 (KS2/Second Level/Progression step 3). These will be available in early 2024.
How does Children’s Mental Health Week link with literacy?
We’ve long known that a love of reading and writing can help children flourish at school and go on to succeed at work and other ventures in life. But we now know that reading and writing for enjoyment can also play a vital role in helping children lead happy and healthy lives. Our research team has explored and identified links between children's literacy engagement and their wellbeing, displaying how both reading and writing supported children's mental wellbeing. Key findings include:
- Children who are the most engaged with literacy are three times more likely to have higher levels of mental wellbeing than children who are the least engaged (39.4% vs 11.8%).
- Children who are the least engaged with literacy are twice as likely to have low levels of mental wellbeing than their peers who are the most engaged (37.4% vs 15%).
Our research on children and young people’s writing during the lockdown in 2020 showed that 2 in 5 children said writing made them feel better, either because they wrote creatively to escape the difficult circumstances of the pandemic or because they wrote to process their feelings. Furthermore, our 2022 Writing Report found that writing continues to support children and young people’s mental wellbeing, with 1 in 3 (32.8%) children and young people saying that writing helps them relax.
Children's Mental Health Week activities
New resources will be available on this page from early 2024. Read on to learn about our 2023 resources.
In 2023 the theme Let’s Connect focused on making meaningful connections during the week and beyond, encouraging healthy connections within families, friendship groups and communities to help support mental health and wellbeing.
To celebrate the week, The National Literacy Trust worked in partnership with REY paper and in collaboration with Counsellor and Poetry Therapist Charmaine Pollard and Poet Caleb Parkin . Together, we created daily writing prompts to inspire pupils to explore their emotions, make meaningful connections and write for their wellbeing.
Using the classroom resources
Our daily writing prompts are provided in the downloadable PowerPoint slides (for KS1/P2-3, KS2/P4-P7 and KS3-KS5/S1-S6), along with a Teacher Guide to provide further guidance on how to use them. We also shared the daily writing prompts in videos across our social media channels during Children's Mental Health Week.
The free resources have been designed to:
- Provide ideas for teachers to use in the classroom during Children's Mental Health Week and beyond (for ages 5 to 18)
- Give children and young people the opportunity to try out the practice of writing for wellbeing.
Set 15 minutes aside each day throughout Children's Mental Health Week for writing for wellbeing.
About the authors
The daily writing prompts have been created in collaboration with experts in the field of therapeutic writing.
Counsellor and Poetry Therapist, Charmaine Pollard
Over the past decade, Charmaine has experienced the transformative power of words. She has facilitated poetry therapy groups and therapeutic writing workshops in a variety of settings, including The National Archives.
Poet Caleb Parkin
Caleb holds an MSc in Creative Writing for Therapeutic Purposes and led the delivery of the Beyond Words writing for wellbeing programme at the Cheltenham Literature Festival in collaboration with Bupa Foundation.
More useful resources
- Explore our collection of ideas and inspiration for supporting wellbeing through literacy teaching
- Developed with Place2Be we have assemblies that build on the link between reading, writing and wellbeing
- Try these resources that focus on Place2Be's four themes to support community recovery based on the wonderful stories, poems and illustrations of the Book of Hopes.
These resources were developed in partnership with REY paper.
Ideas for Children's Mental Health Week at home
- Visit our family-facing site Words for Life for activities and ideas to support your child's mental wellbeing at home.