In light of children’s mental health week, on Wednesday 9th February charity Beyond is holding the UK’s only youth mental health festival in partnership with TES.

Comprising of classes on resilience, mindfulness and mental health wellbeing, hosted by local, approved specialists, the charity hopes to surpass last year’s festival which ran in 1200 schools across the UK and reached over half a million children, parents and teachers. 

With the mental health system failing our youth, 1 in 6 young people now have a diagnosable mental health problem and 75% of young people are currently not receiving any treatment, the festival could not be more timely. 

As part of the festival, a mobile sanctuary called the Zen Den hopes to rebalance students and teachers by visiting London schools to deliver a range of mindfulness practices from a converted American school bus. The team of qualified and experienced teachers will run 11-minute mindfulness workshops which comprise of guided meditations, yoga, breathwork, sound healing and vision boards – taking ancient techniques and making them applicable to even very young children.

Photo: Brian Whiting

Research demonstrates that within 11 minutes of these practices, brainwaves will be altered which can help prevent young people and teachers’ minds from wandering. These practices are especially useful for anxious thoughts and will also lead to improved concentration, boost creativity and emotional balance.

Uniquely tailored to all groups including parents, teachers, schools and colleges, the festival will guide participants through their mental health journey. 

The events include a Parent’s Panel, which explores the need for parents to look after their own mental health in order to be able to care for their children, a subject which is often overlooked. Hosted by journalist, Lorainne Candy with guests including Kate Silverton, Gurpreet Singh, Carrie Grant MBE and Judah Rahem.

Photo: Rankin

Louisa Rose (pictured, left), CEO of Beyond and mother of two, details her inspiration behind the Parents Panel: “My mental health has always been a challenge for me to maintain. My adolescence brought with it some triggering events that ultimately resulted in a diagnosis of depression and anxiety and a journey that included medication and therapy. Just because I’m a mum now doesn’t mean my own mental health issues have gone away. It just means that I have to look after them more consciously because in order to be my best self for my kids, I need to be my best self for me. We have a growth mindset approach to parenting and we encourage our children to name their feelings. But I wish there was a manual because beyond that, I’m stuck. Along with every other parent I know.”

Children’s mental health week running from the 7th of February to 13th of February is highlighting the theme of ‘Growing Together’ in which children (and adults) will be encouraged to consider how they have grown, and how they can help others to grow.

Carrie Grant MBE, patron of Beyond, says, “Our children and young people are communicating with us all the time. Occasionally they use words. We do not have to have all the answers. More than anything they need us to notice and to listen.” 

Beyond are a youth mental health charity with aims to improve young people’s mental health in the UK. Led by the well-known activist and founder Jonny Benjamin MBE and CEO Louisa Rose, they are driven by an incredibly passionate youth board who are determined to instill new attitudes and drive change so that young people can go ‘beyond just surviving’. 

To check out the lineup of events, click here.

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Uzma Gulbahar holds a Bachelor of Arts in History from the University College of London. She is particularly interested in exploring untold stories surrounding marginalised groups, identity and culture.

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