This month at The Kids Network, we’re dedicating our blog posts to exploring the theme of mental health in acknowledgement of #MentalHealthMay.
This week is Mental Health Awareness Week, hosted by the Mental Health Foundation and the theme is anxiety.
From big life events such as moving house or changing jobs to everyday life, meeting basic needs of buying food and paying bills, anxiety is something that can affect us all. Research has found that nearly three-quarters of the population (73%) had felt anxious at least sometimes in the previous two weeks, with 20% anxious most or all of the time (1).
London can be a stressful place for us all. At The Kids Network we take the time to look out for each other, have fun and connect with our community through positive experiences, helping to reduce anxiety for our Little Londoners.
What is anxiety?
Anxiety is a feeling of unease or worry. Itis a natural human response that we may experience. It can affect how we feel physically and emotionally, and how we may behave. However, anxiety can affect us in different ways, so it may not be easy to recognise feelings of anxiety in ourselves and others.
Research has also shown that experiences of anxiety disproportionately affect some population groups more than others, with highest levels of anxiety experienced by 18–34-year-olds, single parents, carers, people identifying as LGBTQ+ and those from the global majority. (1).
What causes anxiety?
There are many factors that can lead to feelings of anxiety and impact how someone functions in everyday life, such as social isolation, work stress and health problems.
One factor is childhood trauma. Childhood trauma, such as physical, emotional, or sexual abuse, or neglect, can affect a person’s emotion regulation and their fight or flight response.
At The Kids Network, our work is embedded in trauma-informed practice, providing early-intervention support to children aged 8-11. Supporting each child to build confidence and resilience is a key focus for us. We do this by working in collaboration with children, their school, caregivers, and a mentor to provide up to 60 hours of one-to-one child-led mentoring, supporting each child to develop the tools to manage stressful situations and build a positive future.
Ways to cope with anxiety
There are many ways we can look after ourselves or others when experiencing anxiety, which will look different for each of us. For example, talking to someone we trust, practicing relaxation techniques or getting outdoors.
For Mental Health Awareness Week, the ask is to share your #ToHelpMyAnxiety stories, to encourage others to talk about their mental health and experiences of anxiety, and share ideas of how to manage feelings of anxiety.