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Spread a little kindness during Children’s Mental Health Week

​Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) is reminding people that small acts of kindness can make all the difference to someone who is going through a difficult time during Children’s Mental Health Week.

This year’s event begins today (6 February) and carries the theme of kindness. NSFT is using the week to raise awareness of the signs of mental health issues while encouraging young people to take active steps to manage symptoms at the earliest possible stage, which in turn can have a positive impact on their everyday life.

The Trust his also organising a range of activities to mark the week.

Anxiety, depression, low mood and eating disorders are the most common mental health issues among young people. But, as with adults, they can also be affected by a whole range of conditions, such as PTSD, psychosis and attachment disorders.

Andy Goff, Locality Operations Manager, Child Family and Young Person Service, Norfolk and Waveney at NSFT, said: “We all know a young person that is going through a difficult time. It might be because they have been affected by a big change such as moving home or school, a relationship breaking down, or are coping with the loss of a loved one.

“In these cases, intervening early can make a big difference. To help someone by asking how they feel or encouraging them to ask for help is the first step to take. It’s important to remember that problems can often be solved with the right support.”

During the week, artwork created by service users and staff, along with quotes from young people, will be displayed at Thurlow House, in King’s Lynn, which provide care for people up age 25.

People will also be given the chance to try out interactive puzzles in the waiting area.“Without help from Thurlow House, I wouldn’t be able to do what I am doing at the moment,” said Jade Reed, 24, who is volunteering with a local charity after receiving support from staff at Thurlow House.

“At one time I would hardly have spoken to anyone, but thanks to the help I was given I have been able to recover. I now live independently and this has been a huge positive step for me.” 
Fellow service user, Natasha Balfe, 22, received support from the team after she became unwell following the birth of her daughter and was unable to leave the house. She has since made a good recovery and is planning to run a 10k race in King’s Lynn later this year to raise money for the Mental Health Foundation.

“I have recently got involved in fundraising for mental health and I am proud of it,” said Natasha.

At s NSFT’s Mary Chapman House in Norwich, the under-14s team is using the week to trial a new way of collecting feedback from service users and families, which will see them place a token in a tube at the end of their appointment to show if they are happy, sad, or neutral.

The tokens will be added up at the end of each month and percentages displayed in the waiting room. The feedback will be used to help staff to understand the needs of children and young people and to enable them to provide better services overall.

If the initiative is successful, it will be rolled out to the other teams in the building.