‘My Voice Matters’ to UK Armed Forces children overseas – and to adults

Children’s Mental Health Week took place from February 5 to 11 with “My Voice Matters!” as its theme and the Community Health Team (CHT) of SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity took part.

Based in Cyprus, the CHT provides a raft of services to UK Armed Forces and families overseas, with disciplines and specificities including nurses, midwives, health visitors, and school nurses.

Professionals from the CHT joined forces with students in Cyprus to bring the vital message of that young people’s voices must be heard to an audience of their peers, and – with an interview with Ceilidh McLeod on BFBS by two students at St John’s School Episkopi – to adults within UK Armed Forces communities.

The two, Jacob and Kaitlyn, also worked with SSAFA’s CHT in the weeks leading up to Children’s Mental Health Week to develop the young-people pages for the SSAFA website. They also created and delivered a well-received presentation to staff and hundreds of students at schools in Episkopi and Akrotiri.

As Kaitlyn and Jacob explained to their fellow students:

Mental health is something that doesn’t wear off on its own. It’s not just a phase.so it’s not like a computer game you like and play all the time and then lose that excitement and start playing another or move onto the next one.

It’s something that should always have a voice.”

Craig Johnson, a Specialist Community Public Health Nurse with the CHT in Cyprus, added:

The theme of Children’s Mental Health Week is “’My Voice Matters!’ – this not only presented an excellent opportunity to engage with our young people, but to actively empower them, reminding them of their value to our community.

We serve a nationally underrepresented, and sometimes forgotten, group of children and young people with unique life experiences and skill sets, so what better way to run a campaign by not only listening, but also facilitating their journey, allowing them to share their creativity and promote skills for life?”

For more information about the services and support SSAFA’s Community Health Team provides to military families overseas, please visit its webpage here or the SSAFA Community Health Facebook page for information on your local (closed) Facebook group.

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