This year’s Children’s Mental Health Week theme is ‘Express Yourself’. We asked children from Place2Be partner schools to tell us how they like to express themselves, and how it makes them feel when they share their thoughts or feelings creatively. Here’s what they had to say...
Jacqueline, age 7:
"If you're shy and you draw things, it helps you talk to people. I used to be really shy and then I started drawing. I brought a drawing pad with my tooth fairy money (technically mum brought it and I gave her the money). It stopped me being so shy.
“First, I drew pictures - say, like me eating an ice cream. People came over and they were interested. Then, I started drawing speech bubbles. And then....I just spoke!
“Now, it's fine to speak with people. So, drawing can make you less nervous. I feel relaxed and calm when I draw.”
David, age 8:
"Drawing makes expressions. Drawing is something that I have done my whole life since I was 4 years old. It really makes me feel happy when I'm sad and since then I've drawn every single day. It's like a place for me that I can rely on: maybe I'm not talking but I can draw my expression and it makes me feel better.
“When I show people, they don't know what I'm drawing but they know how it feels. It's different than telling people - and it can be way better. I like to draw myself, video characters and sometimes something new.”
Grace, age 11:
“I express how I am feeling by dancing. When I am nervous I’ll start dancing and even if I’m sad I’ll start dancing and it makes me happy and focused. When I dance I feel like myself. Before lockdown I used to go to dance lessons. I miss going but it gives me more reason to dance. I like to listen to the music and when I start to dance I just know what moves to do. When I start dancing I feel like I can let go of any feelings that I don’t like or that I am confused about. Dancing makes me feel happy but it also makes my family happy too. They enjoy watching me dancing and I love to do funny dancing to cheer them up and make them laugh!”
Noah, age 10:
“I have always liked drawing ever since I was little, I have liked to draw characters and think of stories.
“I like to write and draw fantasy, detective, and adventure stories. Because writing about something that is exciting makes me feel like a totally different person and sometimes I wish I could have the adventures that my characters have in my stories.
“When I write it is like I am my own world. I think of most of my ideas when I am sitting in my bed. I like to also express myself by drawing cartoon characters. Normally I would scribble and make shapes until I find a thing to draw.
“I also really like playing football and watch it most of the time. Me my dad and my two brothers normally go out for a kick about and practice our skills on the ball. I find it really amazing when I kick a ball and it helps me to keep healthy and fit.”
A huge thank you to Jacqueline, David, Grace and Noah for sharing their thoughts with us.
Whether you’re someone who works with children, or a parent or carer, our free resources and activity ideas can help you and the children in your life to express yourselves.
Some names in this blog have been changed to protect the identities of families and children.