The Importance of Free Play
Children and young people referred to CHICKS for a respite break come from many different, but often…Read more
This week is Mental Health Awareness Week.
CHICKS frequently receive referrals for children who are dealing with various mental well-being issues. Through our respite breaks we support children and young people with low self-esteem and low-level anxiety, and we know that the experiences that we provide can have positive outcomes for young people with these emotional needs.
In the last twelve months we've seen the level of well-being needs dramatically increase. In 2018, CHICKS received dozens of referrals for children who we were unable to offer a standard CHICKS break, as their level of need was too high. We also identified a number of children, who attended a CHICKS break, who we felt would have benefited more from a break dedicated to their well-being.
As a result of our extensive experience in providing respite breaks, our staff skills, and the set-up of our retreats CHICKS is now in a position to diversify our breaks to specifically support young people experiencing low levels of well-being. Which is why we have created our new Well-being Breaks - carefully tailored breaks for a maximum of 12 young people per break tailored to their specific needs. And with a high adult to child ratio on these breaks it means there is the time throughout the week to focus on the individual well-being of each young person and offer them appropriate support.
Richard Whitehouse, Head of Respite Breaks explains children like Sasha would benefit from a place on the CHICKS Well-Being break: "Sasha has been a Young Carer for most of her life. She cares for her mother who suffers from a range of mobility issues and mental health problems and provides her with physical, domestic and emotional support. This takes up a great deal of Sasha’s time and energy, and she is unable to have any social life of her own. As a result, Sasha is very isolated, she isn’t engaging at school and her teacher is worried she is going to stop attending. She was referred to CHICKS by her teacher who said 'Sasha has become very disillusioned with life in general and this is affecting her mental health. I am concerned that Sasha’s homelife is limiting her future.'
"Sasha has been coming to CHICKS for a number of years and she has made many happy memories whilst on break. Most recently she came for Christmas as things at home were particularly tough. Although Sasha describes CHICKS as 'The best place in the world' the Respite Break Leaders who looked after Sasha during her Christmas break identified that she needed a higher level of support; she found it difficult to interact in a group setting and could become very frustrated and upset. A CHICKS Well-being Break would allow Sasha to experience all the fun of a CHICKS break, whilst benefitting from the increased support of a higher child to adult ratio and the expert intervention of a mental well-being practitioner. A break of this nature could be the difference between Sasha engaging once again and realising her potential for the future."
If you work with children or families in a professional capacity and you know of a young person who would benefit from a place on a CHICKS Well-being respite break please head to our Refer a Child page.