(Hamilton, Bermuda, October 7, 2021) Family Centre launches a mental health awareness campaign for children and teens.
Family Centre, in partnership with RBK Advertising + Design and One Communications has launched a public awareness campaign to bring attention to mental health issues with Bermuda’s children and teens. The campaign launched this week during “Mental Health Week,” with the specific objective of educating the general public on how to recognise mental health concerns in children and teens and where to seek help.
Dr. Sandy De Silva, PsyD, Family Centre’s Executive Director, comments, “Now is a particularly important time for us to talk about mental health and how it can affect our children and adolescents. The past year and a half has thrown us challenge after challenge. As adults, we are navigating through these challenging times, and perhaps even struggling ourselves, so it is easy to overlook how it may be affecting our children emotionally and mentally.”
A recent omnibus survey revealed that 82% of Bermuda’s residents agree that the pandemic has increased mental health issues in children and adolescents. However, only approximately 67% of surveyed residents agreed that they know how to identify when a child is experiencing stress and anxiety and just under 50% of the surveyed residents could not identify a child or teen experiencing depression.
Based on the data of the past year and half on how the pandemic has impacted children and teens, Family Centre developed a campaign that puts a spotlight on educating parents and caregivers about what the signs of mental illness are in children and teens. Dr. De Silva notes “The aim of our campaign is to grow awareness of what mental health is and the role it plays in a child’s daily functioning and their overall quality of life. It is critical for the public to know what local mental health resources are available to them, for both children and their families.”
Dr. De Silva points out that “Mental health issues can show up differently in children than they do in adults. In addition, children may not even have the language to properly express their concerns, fears and worries, or may be too embarrassed to express their feelings. As a result, many parents may be unaware that a child is suffering internally. Our goal is to bring to light some of the significant and subtle changes in behaviour that could be symptoms or warning signs. These include children no longer taking pleasure in the things they used to enjoy doing, irregular eating and sleeping patterns, a change in academic performance or even on the sports field. These are just a few of the behavioural changes we want parents and guardians to be aware of so they can ask their child or teen about how they are really feeling. We want to help give children and teens a voice so they don’t have to suffer in silence.
Dr. De Silva adds, “It is important to teach adults how to empower their children with the language needed to express their thoughts and feelings. There are ways to ask your child about what is going on without invalidating them or telling them that they are overreacting. We want adults to know the resources available to help their children and teens. Family Centre knows that in today’s world, things haven’t been easy and adding this on top of an already demanding list of daily responsibilities, it’s not an easy feat. However, the upfront investment and care in the early years of a child’s life is crucial to ensuring we have healthy children, both mentally and physically growing into the leaders of tomorrow.
Kathryn Kelly, President and CEO of RBK Advertising + Design said, “The pandemic has brought about a complex array of factors such as uncertainty, social isolation and angst that have impacted the mental health of children and adolescents. This campaign brings to light some of the significant changes in mood or behaviour which could be warning signs that a child or teen is suffering internally. The goal is to educate more parents or caregivers on how to read the signs that something could be wrong and get children the help they need. We’ve been very happy to donate our services to Family Centre over the years in supporting their initiatives to help the children and families of Bermuda. We commemorate Family Centre’s continued efforts and the incredible work they do every day to make a difference.”
Frank Amaral, CEO of One Communications said, “We are pleased to support Family Centre’s campaign to educate and assist Bermuda with mental health awareness. As a community, we need to stand together in the midst of a pandemic, to recognize the signs in our children and ensure they are able to navigate their emotions and feelings during these unprecedented times. We thank the Family Centre for their ongoing commitment to support and assist families and create a healthier Bermuda for our children.”
If you are concerned that your child or teen is showing signs of mental illness or for more information about Family Centre’s programmes and services, call 232-1116 or visit www.tfc.bm.
For more resources, visit www.tfc.bm/mental-health
Dr. Sandy De Silva
About Family Centre
Family Centre’s mission is to strengthen families to create a healthier Bermuda for our children. We do this through our public advocacy initiatives, innovative community-based outreach programmes offered to students at the middle and high school levels and through our range of counselling services for children ages from 4 to 18 and their families. Our programmes and services are offered at no cost to families. Our purpose is to develop and strengthen children, teens and their families by teaching coping skills needed to address mental health challenges while also building resilience to better cope with the ups and downs of life.