Bereavement charity 2wish encourages young people to talk about their feelings following Children’s Mental Health Week

2wish, the charity which offers support to families affected by the sudden and unexpected death of a child or young person, is following up Children’s Mental Health Week  by reminding care givers how important it is to get young people talking about their feelings.

The charity’s Children and Young Person Coordinator Nicola Watts’ mission is to create environments where children feel empowered to speak up about their emotions and mental health.

She regularly attends primary school to run workshops aimed at encouraging and engaging the pupils in open and honest conversations about mental health, emphasising the importance of acknowledging their feelings, sharing their problems, and not bearing the burden alone.

The workshops aim to create a safe space for these young minds, to express their thoughts and feelings, breaking down the stigma surrounding mental health from an early age.

Nicola recently ran a workshop with 10 Year Six pupils at Cwmlai Primary school in Tonyrefail, RCT, where she discussed these issues with the children, helping them to process their feelings and empower them to speak out if in need.

She said: “Although, at 2wish, we support those affected by the death of a child or young person, we strongly believe that mental health problems can manifest at any time in a person’s life. Contrary to common misconceptions, it doesn’t always take a tragic event to trigger mental health issues. By initiating conversations early on, we can ensure that every child understands that their mental health concerns are valid and deserving of attention.

“At 2wish, we have seen through our children’s support journeys, that the grief they are feeling can be the tip of the iceberg when it comes to their mental health struggles. Often, pre-existing worries and stresses can have a significant impact on the child’s grief and general mental wellbeing. Because these factors aren’t typically deemed significant, and because the child isn’t at crisis point, these issues can go undiscovered, as the child doesn’t feel confident in speaking out, or possibly doesn’t acknowledge these feelings as a concern that needs to be addressed.

“Sessions such as these we have held at Cwmlai Primary School are an important reminder to us all that ill mental health doesn’t need to be caused by significant events, and that all mental health concerns are legitimate and valid.”

Sian Stancombe, year six teacher at Cwmlai Primary School, said of Nicola’s sessions: “Our Year 6 pupils at Cwmlai were so fortunate to receive a session from Nicola at 2Wish. The children gave their thoughts and feelings and became aware through the expert discussion of the power of sharing worries and giving and receiving strength from others.

“These sessions are a powerful tool in the support of children’s mental health.  They learn how to look after their physical health, and now need to have the strategies in place to look after their mental health.”

2wish was founded in 2012 by Rhian Mannings MBE after she and her husband Paul experienced the heartache of losing their baby son, George. They left the hospital heartbroken, confused and bewildered with no support. Five days later, consumed with grief, Paul took his own life. There was no support available, and she and her children felt completely alone and so she set up 2wish to ensure that there is help available for any families going through a similar experience.

Since 2012, 2wish has supported over 1,400 families who have lost a child or young person aged 25 or under. Working hand in hand with organisations such as the Police, NHS Wales and Organ Donation Wales, it provides support to make sure that no family is missed. Across every Emergency Unit and Critical Care Unit in Wales there are now immediate support pathways in place.

You can watch Nicola’s workshop here. To find out more about 2wish and its work, please visit: