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Free event for anyone touched by dementia

RUNNING over Dementia Action Week, Southport residents are being invited to attend a free dementia hub event, hosted by North West Ambulance Service (NWAS), Merseyside Fire and Rescue along with the Mersey Care NHS Trust. This event is aimed at anyone living with dementia or who knows somebody that is, and is due to take place on Wednesday, 22 May 2019, at Southport Fire Station. The event is open to anyone with no registration required. Attendees can drop in at any time between 10am to 12pm with representatives from the Ambulance and Fire Services, as well as local healthcare professionals and the Alzheimer's Society on hand to speak to. The event will provide an informal atmosphere for people living with dementia or touched by it in any way to access any advice and information that they may be useful for them. A Dementia Friends session will also be running from 1pm, which will allow people to understand dementia more and see how they can help people within their community. Following this, between 2pm and 3pm, there will be a café style film screening of 2 dementia related films, followed by a Q&A session with dementia experts from Mersey Care. Community Specialist Paramedic for NWAS, Graham Pacey, said:- "This is the second event of its kind in Southport with the last one being very popular. 1 in 14 people over the age of 65 live with dementia and it is something that affects, so for many people, this event will offer a relaxed environment to get useful information about the condition and well as signposting to relevant support services."

In a typical primary School class in England, 3 children will have a mental health disorder

Former teacher Catherine Lynch of PlanBee crunches the data

MENTAL Health Awareness Week is a fitting moment to examine the incidence of mental health disorders among children. But beware: the figures are scary. Data on mental health was collected by the NHS in 1999, 2004 and 2017 and, perhaps unsurprisingly, the number of children with mental health disorders continues to rise.

In a typical primary School classroom, 6.6% of girls and 12.2% of boys will have at least 1 diagnosable mental health disorder. In a class of 30 primary School children, the figure is 9, or just under 3 children.

The numbers of children suffering with their mental health varies depending on their location and their family's income. Children from low-income families are more likely to experience poor mental health than their peers from wealthier homes. Children living in the East of England or the South West of England are 6% more likely to have at least one diagnosable mental health disorder than children in London.

We can expect that a group of 30 children in London has just under 3 children struggling with their mental health. However, in the same size class of children in the East of England, there will be close to 5 children in the same situation.

The NHS found that high self-esteem was 5 times more common in young people without a disorder than in those with a disorder - self esteem is closely linked to anxiety and poor body image. Perhaps most worryingly, 20.7% of children who needed help with their mental health had to wait more than 6 months to see a mental health specialist. In its January 2019 report, the Government identified the role educators have to play in promoting mental wellbeing.

To help teachers, we have come up with 10 ways to create mentally healthy Schools. As parents, you may want to identify how many of these techniques are being used in your child's School.  Catherine Lynch is a former primary School teacher who is now a resource creator for lesson planning experts PlanBee.

Graphics source:- Mental Health of Children and Young People in England, 2017.

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