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World Mental Health Day

World Mental Health Day is celebrated every year on 10 October.

This year, people and communities across the globe will unite behind a theme - mental health is a universal human right - to improve knowledge, raise awareness and take actions that promote and protect everyone’s mental health.

Interesting facts about World Mental Health Day

  • Mental health is a basic human right for all people. Everyone, whoever and wherever they are, has a right to a good standard of mental health.
  • Good mental health is vital to overall health and wellbeing. Yet, one in eight people globally are living with mental health conditions which may have an impact on their physical health, wellbeing and how they communicate and participate in the world around them.
  • Mental health conditions affect a large number of young people.

Having a mental health condition should never be a reason to exclude someone from decisions about their health and wellbeing.

As parents and carers, we can support our children to give them the best chance to stay mentally healthy. It’s important to encourage and guide children to think about their own mental health and wellbeing from a young age.

Activities for children with vision impairment

Play is a great way to relieve stress. Activities like playing with sand, water or playdough can have a grounding effect, helping children to relax. The repetitive and rhythmic nature of some types of sensory play can be comforting, helping children feel secure. We’ve suggested some sweet-smelling “slimes” to make and play with to create this effect.

Lavender-scented slime

What you will need:

  • 1/2 cup clear craft glue
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsp contact lens solution (containing boric acid)
  • 5 drops lavender essential oil
  • 1 tbsp dried lavender flowers

How to make lavender slime:

  • Pour the clear glue into a bowl.
  • Drip the lavender essential oil into the glue and sprinkle in the dried lavender flowers.
  • Mix well to evenly incorporate the flowers and oil.
  • Add the baking soda to the glue and mix well.
  • Finally, add the contact lens solution and marvel as your sticky glue mixture transforms into a scented slime!

Edible slime

You might want to make an edible version of slime, as shown in this Banana Marshmallow Pudding recipe.

What you will need:

  • 1 cup of corn starch
  • 1/4 cup of banana cream instant pudding mix
  • 1/3 cup warm water
  • A handful of mini marshmallows

How to make banana marshmallow pudding slime:

  • Pour the banana cream instant pudding mix in a bowl.
  • Add half of the corn starch to the bowl.
  • Add the warm water and mix together.
  • Gradually add the remaining corn starch – you could encourage your child to use their hands to combine the ingredients from this point.
  • Add the marshmallows and roll the mixture around until they are evenly distributed.

Tip: If your slime is too sticky, add a little more corn starch. Or, if it is too firm or dry just add a little more water. You might have to make some adjustments here and there before it’s the perfect consistency!

Sensory scavenger hunts

Being outside gives children an opportunity to connect with nature; this has been linked to reduced stress, increased relaxation and improved mental clarity.

The internet is full of many exciting ideas for nature scavenger hunts. There are printable checklists that focus on finding certain objects, sounds, and textures. You can use these - or make your own, of course! Be sure to transcribe them into braille, or large print, if needed, to make the lists accessible to all readers.

If your child isn’t reading yet, pair the list with a bag of objects that you’ve already collected from outside; set a challenge to find a matching object. This encourages tactile discrimination techniques, as well as early literacy skills.

Try these ideas to encourage reluctant or anxious children and make your scavenger hunt more enjoyable from the start:

  • Ease your child into the activity by bringing a few objects inside to explore first. Let them explore grass, tree bark, stones and so on but in a comfortable, safe setting.
  • Plan ahead, provide as much information as possible and, if necessary, set time limits. You can say: “Let’s explore outside for 10 minutes, then we’ll come back in.” If your child has fun, gradually build up the time spent on the activity.

Books and reading

Books are a great way to relax and escape from life’s stresses for a while. Encouraging reading and storytelling as part of your child’s routine can have long-lasting benefits for their mental health and wellbeing.

The RNIB Library is the largest of its kind in the UK. It’s completely free and has a section devoted entirely to Kids and Teens

Emotional support for children and young people

Parents tell us that one of the most difficult parts of finding out that their child has a vision impairment is knowing how to talk about it with them. The Tough Talks Guide supports parents and carers as they think about this issue.

We've recently added to our series of podcasts for parents and carers about Emotional support for children and young people with vision impairment | RNIB