This week is Children’s Mental Health Week and this year, the theme is ‘Let’s Connect’. We’re being asked to think about how we can ‘make meaningful connections with others’.
For young people, healthy connections with their family, friends, and peers are crucial to their mental health and wellbeing. These connections help young people to feel safe, to feel valued, to feel part of a community. We’ve spoken a lot about this before but here at The Outdoors Group and The Outdoors School, we are passionate about creating communities at our sessions and these meaningful connections are the cornerstone of these.
These communities may last for years, as is often the case for our Home Education Groups and at The Outdoors School, they may last for a few weeks, or they may just last for a day at some of our other sessions. And whilst there are definitely more benefits to long-term attendance and the connections that can grow and evolve during this time, we’d argue that even a fleeting community, created organically for a short while, can create that same sense of having made a meaningful connection.
Connections can be made anywhere and anytime but we believe that being outdoors can greatly facilitate the process. The outdoors creates an equal playing field and often, the experiences that are shared whilst in the woods can work as a catalyst for people of all ages to connect and bond with each other. Whether that’s working together to create a shelter as it starts to rain, collaborating on a long term project, or being on the same team for a giant game of hide and seek!
As we wind down this week, we’d urge you to think about the connections the young people in your life (whether as a parent or educator) have and are making. There are some fantastic resources that you can find here to help start conversations with young people that might be struggling to find the meaningful friendships and relationships that are so crucial to their mental health and wellbeing. Mental health matters, no matter what age you are, so let’s make sure we support the young people we know with theirs!
Author: Hannah Durdin, Content Officer & Forest School Leader
Date: Thursday 9th February 2023