About Children’s Mental Health Week
This week, in Children’s Mental Health Week, children’s mental health charity Place2Be is encouraging children, young people and adults to celebrate our uniqueness…’ It’s all about #BeingOurselves. When we have a positive view of ourselves, it can help us to cope with life’s challenges, and recognising the different qualities of others can allow us to connect with those around us – which is vital for our own and others’ wellbeing.
Dance can provide positive experiences
Through dance and the arts, Ludus Dance aims to celebrate individuality and diversity, nurturing positive, unique, confident individuals who are proud of who they are. Dance, not only releases endorphins to help to boost a positive mood, release anxiety and support mental and physical wellbeing, it is also a way of engaging people who are less confident, or may be vulnerable or disengaged. Dancing and taking part in the arts can help people to be inspired and challenged.
A parent recently explained that their “very troubled” child, who takes part in dance classes at Ludus Dance, had found a safe space where they “didn’t feel singled out” and how they had changed from having their “head down and shoulders haunched” all the time to being more confident, performing in public and channelling these positive energies into other areas of their life.
Working with young people with mental health issues
With a backdrop of some hard-hitting statistics around health and wellbeing, such as 10 per cent of schoolchildren have a diagnosable mental health condition yet 75 per cent of young people with a mental health problem are not receiving treatment, Ludus Dance aims to provide a wide range of opportunities through dance, working with children and young people, and especially those who are hard to reach and in areas of socio-economic deprivation.
State of Flux arts and mental health project for young people
In 2016, Ludus Dance ran a project to help make a difference for children and young people affected by severe mental health issues in the Lancaster area, funded by BBC Children in Need in 2016. Through State of FLUX, professional dance, music and film artists worked with Lancashire Care Foundation NHS Trust’s in-patient assessment and treatment unit for 13 to 18 year-olds. Over 12 weeks, a safe creative outlet was provided for young people experiencing severe and distressing thoughts, feelings and emotions. They experienced how the arts can help to explore identity and individuality.
Seventeen year-old Lexi was one of the young people with anorexia, at The Junction CAHMS Tier 4 mental health unit, for whom the State of FLUX project brought positive change. She explained the impact the project had on her: “Socialising became a new focus. I got to know the other people in the unit better. It gave us something different to talk about, other than about hospital and why we were there. At a time when I had no emotion, it made me feel. I’d lost all interest in things too but I suddenly remembered I had talents. It was a reminder that I could do things and the motivation I needed to want to get out of hospital.”
Take a look at a video made by a young person through State of Flux:
How you can help us raise funds for our work with children and young people
Ludus Dance is raising awareness and raising funds for the valuable work it is doing in this area. On Saturday 16th March, we will be celebrating the fabulous work of our studio programme class participants at the Spring Forward performance event in our Lancaster studio. This launches our fundraising campaign to further develop our mental health work with young people through State of Flux II.
Exploring Dance and Mental Health Awareness with Children and Young People – CPD event
On 27th and 28th March, we are running a CPD opportunity with Rachel Liggitt, Director of Shropshire Inclusive Dance, to provide practical movement and dance approaches to support children and young people living with or at risk from experiencing a mental health condition. The course will combine practice and theory to support professional dance practitioners.