Nurturing young minds: how we support children’s mental health

Find out how Leeds Children’s Charity at Lineham Farm positively nurtures resilience in children’s mental health through fun and impactful respite breaks.

28th June 2024

For over a century, Leeds Children’s Charity has been dedicated to providing lifelong memories for local children who need it most. Today, from our base at Lineham Farm, we continue this important work by offering unforgettable respite breaks and valuable learning opportunities for disadvantaged children of Leeds.

We recognise that our work can have a positive impact on children’s emotional well-being. Today, we’re taking a look at how a break at Lineham Farm can nurture resilience in local children’s mental health, and why the work we do is more crucial than ever.

How to support children’s mental health

Today’s children face a host of challenges that can impact their mental health, with anxiety, depression and stress all increasingly common among young people. These issues are often worsened by factors far beyond a child’s control; poverty, family difficulties, abuse or caring responsibilities. In Leeds, where a quarter of all children under the age of 16 live in relative poverty, these issues are difficult to ignore.

A child’s mental health can impact every area of their life, from their ability to form meaningful relationships to their physical health and future prospects. It’s a complex issue, and best addressed with a multifaceted approach, involving families, schools, communities, and charities that directly support mental health, like Barnardo’s and YoungMinds.

Mental health in children statistics: a growing issue

Recent mental health in children statistics highlight the growing issue. A 2020 study by NHS Digital, the Department of Health and Social Care and the Office for National Statistics provides some concerning insights into young people’s mental health in England. The study compared survey data from 2017 and 2020, examining over 3,500 children and young people, and found:

  • One in six (16%) children aged 5 to 16 had a probable mental disorder – up from one in nine (10.8%) in 2017.
  • Family dynamics play a role – among 11 to 16-year-old girls, 63.8% of those with a probable mental disorder had seen or heard an argument among adults in their household.
  • Among those aged 5 to 22, 58.9% with a probable mental disorder reported having sleep problems.
  • Children aged 5 to 16 with a probable mental disorder were more than twice as likely to live in a household that had fallen behind with payments (16.3%) than children unlikely to have a mental disorder (6.4%)

These statistics are worrying, and highlight the importance of supporting children’s well-being. Early intervention and preventative measures are key – and these are areas where we know the work of Leeds Children’s Charity at Lineham Farm can make a difference.

Leeds Children’s Charity’s approach to mental health

There are many incredible organisations that specifically focus on providing mental health support for children and young people. At Leeds Children’s Charity, the time away and experiences we provide at Lineham Farm can support a healthy mindset. The activities at the farm help to build resilience in children’s mental health, encouraging them to make new friends, express themselves, offering time for reflection and peace while developing confidence – all in a nurturing environment.

For children like those identified in the NHS study, who frequently hear arguments at home, a trip to the peaceful countryside of Lineham Farm can be transformative. We offer these children a much-needed break from a stressful home situation, providing a calm and supportive environment where they can relax, have fun and just be kids.

Here’s a little more about how our work supports children from backgrounds of challenge and disadvantage:

  • Providing a safe haven: At Lineham Farm, we offer a secure environment where children can relax and be themselves. For some, this time away is a welcome respite from challenging or disruptive home environments. For others, it’s simply a chance to experience a new, calming setting free from any usual worries or pressures.
  • Fostering connections: Our activities are designed to encourage teamwork and friendship-building. Through fun shared experiences, children get the chance to improve key social skills and form bonds with their peers.
  • Building confidence: We give children the chance to try new activities like climbing, archery and animal care. Through these activities, children can feel a sense of independence and personal achievement – something particularly transformative for those who struggle in traditional academic settings.
  • Reducing isolation: The shared experiences at Lineham Farm create a unique bonding environment where children often find they’re not alone in their struggles. This contributes towards a sense of community and belonging that can have lasting positive effects on mental well-being.
  • Encouraging emotional expression: We encourage emotional openness through a supportive atmosphere where children feel comfortable expressing their thoughts and feelings. We always listen without judgment and provide a space where children feel safe to share, and reflect upon their feelings and achievements.
  • Promoting mindfulness: Simply being in the countryside at Lineham Farm helps children connect with the natural world, promoting mindfulness and reducing stress.

Our positive impact on children’s well-being

Supporting children’s mental health is about more than just addressing existing problems. It’s also about creating positive life experiences, building resilience and offering opportunities for self-discovery and growth. We proudly align our work with the vision of a Child Friendly Leeds, specifically Wish 1 – ensuring children and young people know how to access support for their mental health, and Wish 2 – providing safe spaces where children can play, socialise and have fun. Through our respite breaks, we help foster an environment that nurtures every child’s potential.

The impact of our work at Lineham Farm extends far beyond a simple countryside break:

  • 94% of young people who visited Lineham Farm said they overcame fears and challenges.
  • 100% of children achieved new goals and experiences at Lineham Farm.
  • Schools report positive changes in behaviour, confidence and engagement after residential stays, saying pupils return with a renewed enthusiasm for learning.

Every child who stays at Lineham Farm gets the chance to create happy memories, develop skills and form meaningful connections. For many, these experiences offer a glimpse at what’s possible for them, boosting self-esteem and arming them with coping strategies and positive memories to draw on in difficult times.

Every child deserves the chance to experience joy, build confidence and develop the resilience they need to face life’s challenges. Through the continued, generous support of our partners and the local community, we can ensure every child in need in Leeds has access to these transformative experiences – helping create a brighter and more hopeful future for the children of Leeds.

If you’d like to learn more about how you can support us in brightening children’s lives, please visit our ‘ways to give’ page. We’re also on FacebookLinkedInInstagram and X– follow us to stay up to date with all the latest news and events!