13 Jan 2021
12.6% of children and young people in Northern Ireland experience common mood disorders such as anxiety and depression – around 25% higher than in other UK nations research from Ulster University has found. With multiple lockdowns, restrictions and school closures covid has contributed to the feeling of isolation and depression.
Aware NI has recently launched ‘Express Yourself’. A Children’s Mental Health Poetry Competition in collaboration with Joel M, a well known TikTok magician. Joel is a massive advocate of practising mindfulness and prioritising his mental health. He will be judging the poems and visiting the individual at their school.
The ‘Express Yourself’ project aims to normalise mental health and encourage children to open up and talk about how they feel. For many children and even adults, mental health is a topic we shy away from. To encourage children to start the conversation about mental health Aware NI, funded through the Art, Culture and Heritage Fund have launched this project for Children’s Mental Health Week in February.
The competition will allow children to express their thoughts and feelings about the past year through creative writing. Encouraging children to think engagingly and creatively about their experiences through the COVID-19 pandemic.
Andrew McCracken, Community Foundation CEO, “For me, this is an amazing project, I have small children at home and understand just how difficult lockdown has been for them. Choosing someone like Joel, a TikTok star that children watch and look up to is perfect to capture their attention and get them to open up and start a conversation about mental health.”
For more information about ‘Express Yourself’ click here.