06 June 2023

How play strengthens your child’s mental health

Play is how young children learn and make sense of the world around them. While they are having fun, they are working on critical parts of their development like building motor, cognitive, social and emotional skills. But the power of play extends beyond early learning: it also plays a key role in building your child’s mental health – and yours…, Play helps to strengthen the bond between you and your child, Sharing in joyful moments of fun and learning helps bring children and their caregivers closer together. As your little one's first playmate, you have the ability to provide opportunities for learning and connection right at home. When you play together, you get to see the world from your child’s perspective. By providing your child with love,…, Play helps reduce stress levels, Playing games, dancing and singing are great ways to relieve stress for both your child and you. When you’re enjoying fun moments and laughing together, your body releases endorphins that promote a feeling of well-being. Even short periods of play together can serve as a powerful reminder for adults of their ability to support their child, and…, Play helps children process difficult emotions, When children are dealing with complex emotional issues, it often shows up in their play. Giving children space to play allows them to work through feelings such as pain, fear or loss while being able to still act like a child. Play gives them a way to express things they are struggling with that they don’t yet have the words to fully explain. By…, Play helps to build confidence, Solving problems and coming up with creative solutions during a game or while working on a puzzle give children a sense of accomplishment and competence. When you take time to play with your child, your little one is learning that they are valued and fun to be around. It is important that you give your full attention during playtime and invest in…
24 February 2022

Self-care tips for teachers during COVID-19

Teaching can often be a highly stressful career, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, there are steps you can take to help cope with the pressures of the job and manage stress levels. As a teacher, you might be afraid, nervous or anxious returning to the classroom, especially if you feel COVID-19 precautions are not being fully…, Ways to cope, While people react differently to stress, people often do better over the long-term if they: Feel safe, connected to others, calm and hopeful Have access to social, physical and emotional support Regain a sense of control by being able to help themselves If you recognize signs of stress and how they affect different aspects of your well-being, you…, What is self-care?, The World Health Organization defines self-care as “the ability of individuals, families and communities to promote health, prevent disease, maintain health, and to cope with illness and disability with or without the support of a healthcare provider.” Self-care is any activity that we do intentionally in order to take care of our mental,…, What is burnout?, One of the negative consequences of accumulated stress is burnout. Burnout is a state of physical, emotional and mental exhaustion that results from prolonged exposure to job stressors or work situations that are emotionally demanding. It is emotional exhaustion and can result in a sense of reduced personal accomplishment. Burnout includes many…, Making time for self-care as teachers, Too many people work until they can't go on or they view rest and sleep as something which is not important. It is important to view rest as an essential tool for maintaining well-being. Resting can be as simple as just turning off the lights in your classroom for a few minutes after your students have left. Or try and limit the time you spend…, Hope and well-being, It is important to remind yourself and your students that you have control over different aspects of your life and that you can bring about change. When you are facing challenging times, it can be difficult to feel hopeful that things can improve. When we feel hopeful, it helps us to focus on change, look to the future, and actively look for…
23 February 2022

How to recognize signs of distress in children

Children have different reactions to adverse events in their environment. Culture influences the ways in which we express emotions. In some cultures, for example, it is not appropriate to show strong emotions like crying loudly, while in others it is widely accepted.  Some signs of distress may not be so obvious. Here are some of the signs of…, Common reactions to stress in children, Many of these reactions only last for a short time, and are normal reactions to stressful events. If these reactions last for a prolonged period of time, the child may need specialist support.   Age Reaction 0-3 years Clinging to their caregivers more than normal Regressing to former (younger) behaviours Changes in sleeping and eating patterns…, Emotional check-ins, The COVID-19 pandemic has been an emotionally difficult time for everyone and many children have been greatly affected. You should check in regularly on how your child is feeling. To check-in emotionally is to ask children “how they are” in a direct or indirect way. One check-in method is to ask your child to draw or paint a picture. Ask them to…, Activities to reduce stress and support your child’s well-being, These activities can be done with your child to help reduce stress and provide them with positive coping strategies that support their well-being. These activities are also beneficial for you and can be done with your child together.  Belly breathing Often when we are stressed our breathing becomes shallow, high in our chests, and we forget to…
23 February 2022

How to reduce stress and support students' well-being during COVID-19

The costs of COVID-19 lockdowns and school closures on children's health, well-being and learning has been devastating.  Everyone has been affected by the pandemic, but for some children and adolescents, lockdowns and school closures have meant being subjected to violence, abuse and neglect at home.  For others, increased time online, particularly…, Emotional check-ins, Returning to school can be an emotionally trying time for everyone and children can be greatly impacted in a number of ways. Conduct routine emotional check-ins with your students. To check-in emotionally is to ask children “how they are” in a direct or indirect way. One method is to ask children "What colour do you feel today?" Ask children to…, Identifying signs of distress, Children have different reactions to adverse events in their environment. Culture influences the ways in which we express emotions. In some cultures, for example, it is not appropriate to show strong emotions like crying loudly, while in others it is widely accepted. Based on the culture you work in, be alert for signs that children are not doing…, Activities to reduce stress and support student well-being, These activities can be done with students in order to help reduce stress, support well-being and provide them with positive coping strategies. These activities are also beneficial for you, and you and your students can do them together.   Belly breathing Often when we are stressed our breathing becomes shallow, high in our chests, and we forget…
09 February 2022

Cyberbullying: What is it and how to stop it

Cyberbullying: What is it and how can we stop it? We brought together UNICEF specialists, international cyberbullying and child protection experts, and teamed up with Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Twitter to answer some of the most common questions about online bullying and give advice on ways to deal with it.  What is cyberbullying?…, The top questions on cyberbullying, 1. Am I being bullied online? How do you tell the difference between a joke and bullying? 2. What are the effects of cyberbullying? 3. How can cyberbullying affect my mental health? 4. Who should I talk to if someone is bullying me online? Why is reporting important? 5. I’m experiencing cyberbullying, but I’m afraid to talk to my parents about it…, 1. Am I being bullied online? How do you tell the difference between a joke and bullying?, UNICEF:  All friends joke around with each other, but sometimes it’s hard to tell if someone is just having fun or trying to hurt you, especially online. Sometimes they’ll laugh it off with a “just kidding,” or “don’t take it so seriously.”  But if you feel hurt or think others are laughing at you instead of with you, then the joke has gone too…, 2. What are the effects of cyberbullying?, UNICEF: When bullying happens online it can feel as if you’re being attacked everywhere, even inside your own home. It can seem like there’s no escape. The effects can last a long time and affect a person in many ways: Mentally – feeling upset, embarrassed, stupid, even afraid or angry  Emotionally – feeling ashamed or losing interest in the…, 3. How can cyberbullying affect my mental health?, UNICEF: When you experience cyberbullying you might start to feel ashamed, nervous, anxious and insecure about what people say or think about you. This can lead to withdrawing from friends and family, negative thoughts and self-talk, feeling guilty about things you did or did not do, or feeling that you are being judged negatively. Feeling lonely…, TikTok, Cyberbullying has the potential of having a negative impact on people's mental health. It's why it's so important that you reach out to someone you trust – whether it's a parent, teacher, friend or caregiver – and let them know what you're going through so that they can help you. Our  Bullying Prevention guide includes a list of resources that can…, 4. Who should I talk to if someone is bullying me online? Why is reporting important?, UNICEF:  If you think you’re being bullied, the first step is to seek help from someone you trust such as your parents, a close family member or another trusted adult. In your school you can reach out to a counsellor, the sports coach or your favourite teacher – either online or in person. And if you are not comfortable talking to someone you know…, Facebook/Instagram, If you’re being bullied online, we encourage you to talk to a parent, teacher or someone else you can trust – you have a right to be safe and supported. We also make it easy to report any bullying directly within Facebook or Instagram. You can always send our team an anonymous report from a post, comment, story or DM on Facebook or Instagram. We…, TikTok, Everyone has the right to feel safe and to be treated with respect and dignity. Bullying and harassment are incompatible with the inclusive environment we foster on TikTok.  If you ever feel someone is bullying you or otherwise being inappropriate, reach out to someone you trust - for example, a parent, a teacher or a caregiver – who can provide…, Twitter, Being the target of bullying online is not easy to deal with. If you are being cyberbullied, the most important thing to do is to ensure you are safe. It’s essential to have someone to talk to about what you are going through. This may be a teacher, another trusted adult, or a parent. Talk to your parents and friends about what to do if you or a…, 5. I’m experiencing cyberbullying, but I’m afraid to talk to my parents about it. How can I approach them?, UNICEF:  If you are experiencing cyberbullying, speaking to a trusted adult – someone you feel safe talking to – is one of the most important first steps you can take. Talking to parents isn’t easy for everyone. But there are things you can do to help the conversation. Choose a time to talk when you know you have their full attention. Explain how…, 6. How can I help my friends report a case of cyberbullying especially if they don’t want to do it?, UNICEF:  Anyone can become a victim of cyberbullying. If you see this happening to someone you know, try to offer support. It is important to listen to your friend. Why don’t they want to report being cyberbullied? How are they feeling? Let them know that they don’t have to formally report anything, but it’s crucial to talk to someone who might be…, Facebook/Instagram, We know that it can be hard to report but everyone deserves to feel safe online.  Reporting content or accounts to Facebook or Instagram can help us better keep you safe on our platforms. Bullying and harassment are highly personal by nature, so in many instances, we need a person to report this behavior to us before we can identify or remove it.…, TikTok, If you believe another member of the TikTok community is being bullied or harassed, there are ways you can provide support. For example, you can make a confidential report on TikTok so that we take appropriate action and help keep your friend safe.  If you know the person, consider checking in with them and encourage them to read our Bullying…, Twitter, If your friends are experiencing cyberbullying, encourage them to talk to a parent, a teacher or an adult they trust. If a friend of yours does not want to report their experience, you can submit a bystander report  on their behalf. This can include reports of private information , non -consensual nudity  or impersonation. > Back to top Being…, 7. How do we stop cyberbullying without giving up access to the Internet?, UNICEF:  Being online has so many benefits. However, like many things in life, it comes with risks that you need to protect against. If you experience cyberbullying, you may want to delete certain apps or stay offline for a while to give yourself time to recover. But getting off the Internet is not a long-term solution. You did nothing wrong, so…, Facebook/Instagram, The safety of our community – and the safety of young people in particular – is our most important responsibility. That’s why we’re committed to leading the fight against cyberbullying. On Instagram, comments that our artificial intelligence (AI) flags as potentially offensive or intended to harass people will automatically be filtered out with…, TikTok, Our priority is to foster a welcoming and safe environment where people feel free to express themselves authentically. Our Community Guidelines make clear that we do not tolerate members of our community being shamed, bullied or harassed.  We use a combination of technology and moderation teams to help us identify and remove abusive content or…, Twitter, Since hundreds of millions of people share ideas on Twitter every day, it’s no surprise that we don’t all agree with each other all the time. That’s one of the benefits of a public conversation in that we can all learn from respectful disagreements and discussions. But sometimes, after you’ve listened to someone for a while, you may not want to…, 8. How do I prevent my personal information from being used to manipulate or humiliate me on social media?, UNICEF:  Think twice before posting or sharing anything on digital platforms – it may be online forever and could be used to harm you later. Don’t give out personal details such as your address, telephone number or the name of your school. Learn about the privacy settings of your favourite social media apps. Here are some actions you can take on…, 9. Is there a punishment for cyberbullying?, UNICEF:  Most schools take bullying seriously and will take action against it. If you are being cyberbullied by other students, report it to your school. People who are victims of any form of violence, including bullying and cyberbullying, have a right to justice and to have the offender held accountable. Laws against bullying, particularly on…, Facebook/Instagram, On Facebook, we have a set of Community Standards , and on Instagram, we have Community Guidelines that we ask our community to follow. If we find content that violates these policies, like in the case of bullying or harassment, we’ll remove it., TikTok, Our Community Guidelines define a set of norms and common code of conduct for TikTok and they provide guidance on what is and is not allowed to make a welcoming space for everyone. We make it clear that we do not tolerate members of our community being shamed, bullied or harassed. Any such content will be removed and, where necessary and…, Twitter, We strongly enforce our rules to ensure all people can participate in the public conversation freely and safely. These rules specifically cover a number of areas including topics such as: Violence Child sexual exploitation Abuse/harassment Hateful conduct Suicide or self-harm Sharing of sensitive media, including graphic violence and adult content…, 10. Technology companies don’t seem to care about online bullying and harassment. Are they being held responsible?, UNICEF:  Technology companies are increasingly paying attention to the issue of online bullying. Many of them are introducing ways to address it and better protect their users with new tools, guidance and ways to report online abuse. But it is true that more is needed. Many young people experience cyberbullying every day. Some face extreme forms…, 11. Are there any online anti-bullying tools for children or young people?, UNICEF:  Each social platform offers different tools (see available ones below) that allow you to restrict who can comment on or view your posts or who can connect automatically as a friend, and to report cases of bullying. Many of them involve simple steps to block, mute or report cyberbullying. We encourage you to explore them. Social media…, Facebook/Instagram, We have a number of tools to help keep young people safe: You can use Instagram's  Restrict tool to discreetly protect your account without that person being notified. You can moderate comments on your own posts. You can modify your settings so that only people you follow can send you a direct message. On Instagram, we will  send people a…, TikTok, Alongside the work that our safety teams do to help keep bullying and harassment off our platform, we provide an extensive range of tools to help you control your TikTok experience. You can find these in full on our Safety Centre . Here are a few highlights: You can restrict who comments on your videos to no one, just friends or everyone (for…, Twitter, We want everybody to be safe on Twitter. We continue to launch and improve tools for people to feel safer, be in control and manage their digital footprint. Here are some safety tools anyone on Twitter can use:  Select who can reply to your Tweets  – either everyone, only people you follow or only people you mention Mute – removing an account's…, To anyone who has ever been bullied online: You are not alone, TikTok stars Charli and Dixie D'Amelio open up about their personal experience of being bullied and share tips on how to make the internet a better place., Reporting abuse and safety resources, Facebook Instagram Kik Snapchat TikTok Tumblr Twitter WeChat WhatsApp YouTube    
25 March 2021

Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in the context of COVID 19: Implications for the Arab Region

When: Monday 29 March 2021, 15:45-17:15 (90 minutes) Beirut time, Online   Background and objective Mental health is one of the most neglected areas of public health in the Arab region. Over the last decade, most countries in the region experienced rapid social and political changes which put not only the socio-economic systems under immense strain but also exposed the populations to protracted stress and adversity which are well established risk factors for mental and substance use disorders. COVID-19 exacerbated an already fraught mental health situation, making provision of mental health and psychosocial support services an urgent priority for all populations, especially vulnerable groups, including women, children, adolescents, migrants, and refugees. The objectives of this Special Session are to: Discuss the impact of COVID-19 on the mental health of the population, especially on vulnerable populations and what has been revealed about MHPSS in terms of understanding both well-being and service delivery in the Arab region in order to “build back better.” Discuss the importance of, and share lessons learned from-, countries on how to build MHPSS into community structures, e.g., the role of front-line workers and schools and the need to bolster MHPSS within primary health care, maternal health, and other health services. Discuss how governments, and development and humanitarian communities, as well as CSOs can support the humanitarian-development nexus to “build back better” national mental health and psychosocial support systems and promote community resilience and well-being especially in schools. Questions to be addressed Why does MHPSS need to be gender-sensitive and mainstreamed in preparedness, response plans and policies across sectors? What alternative solutions developed during the confinement – targeting women and child survivors of domestic violence - can be scaled up after the pandemic? How does the integration of MHPSS components into Universal Health Care benefit packages create a more resilient and fit-for-purpose health system, advance progress towards SDG 3, and build the resilience of communities? Why is it important to equip teachers and front-line workers with the essential skills of providing basic psychological first aid? Why is an integrated multidisciplinary approach targeting pregnant women necessary to address perinatal maternal mental health issues? Facilitator(s) Dr Ahmed Al Mandhari, Regional director, WHO Office for the Eastern Mediterranean Region Mr Ted Chaiban, Regional Director, UNICEF Regional Office for the Middle East and North Africa Panelists Dr Najat MaallaM’jid, UN Special Representative of the Secretary General on Violence Against Children Dr Shekhar Saxena, Professor of the Practice of Global Mental Health, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, USA Dr Rabih El Chammay, Head of Programme, National Mental Health Programme (NMHP), Ministry of Public Health, Lebanon Community member user of MHPSS services     This Special Session will be organized over Zoom.   To register to this Special Session and receive the Zoom link, click on the following link: https://unicef.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_4YoL1Cf_SZeFdOh9eNxMaA