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Children’s Mental Health Week 5-11 February 2024

As more children in care are affected by mental health issues, we are looking at how, by supporting Life Story Work, Virtual Memory Box can help young people’s mental health.

A recent report from the Children’s Commissioner found that ‘The mental health of children has deteriorated markedly in recent years. As of 2022, the NHS estimates that 18% of children aged 7 to 16 years and 26% of those aged 17 to 19 have a probable mental health disorder, up from 17% in 2021.
‘Some groups of children have particularly poor levels of mental health. Half of looked after children (49%) had ‘borderline’ or ‘cause for concern’ scores in 2020-21 based on their answers.’

Virtual Memory Box MD Christian Brock says, “Virtual Memory Box isn’t just a ‘nice to have’ platform to look at photos on, it really is a vital tool in developing a young person’s identify and making sense of their journey. It supports Life Story Work, which is crucial to helping the mental health of young people in care. We also know that keeping links with siblings are really important too and we are busy implementing a new feature so siblings can share their memories, keeping that vital connection even when they are living separately.”

A report from What Works for Children’s Social Care found that Life Story Work and sibling relationships can really help young people’s mental health.

‘Life Story Work aims to give children a structured and understandable way of talking about themselves and helps them build a sense of self-worth and to develop a record about themselves they can refer to and carry with them through life… children and their caregivers can value life story work as an opportunity to work through emotions and explore identity, and to improve their relationships. One study linked life story intervention to decreases in children’s externalising behaviours.’

‘The review found that there was support for improved psychological outcomes for children in kinship care compared to non-kinship care, implying that closer familial relationships could be protective for children in foster care. There is some evidence to suggest that siblings placed apart have worse outcomes…’

Children’s Mental Health Week is a mental health awareness week that empowers, equips and gives a voice to all children and young people in the UK.