Child in Mind
18 April 2018
Last year we interviewed alumna Manisha Tailor for the Londinian after she was awarded an MBE in the Queen's New Year honour list. We caught up with her to find out what she has been working on since.
Swaggarlicious, a brand founded by Manisha, uses football and education to work with young people from diverse backgrounds, women and girls as well as adults with mental health, through her own personal experiences of becoming a young carer. Her mental health and football programme runs at Wingate and Finchley FC, in partnership with Middlesex FA and Fans For Diversity to support adults with mental health issues to feel included and develop social and life skills through the power of the game.
More recently Manisha has developed this programme to creating 'Child in Mind', a written publication which recognises the importance of raising awareness of mental health amongst young people in schools. It is an initiative that provides education on championing mental health and wellbeing through open discussion and collaboration which can be run as classroom workshops, adult or teacher training or a work-book that children can go through with their parents and guardians at home.
Manisha feels that learning about mental health must be developmental and for young children, rehearsing ways of asking an adult for help, persevering and showing resilience if they find something difficult, lays the foundations for confidently accessing sources of support when they are older.
" My twin brother and I were inseparable and as children our most cherished times involved playing football in the park with friends as well as subbuteo with our cousin Nilesh. Our childhood was filled with joy and laughter. The year of our 18th birthday, 17 July 1998, took a sudden turn of fate and my life has never been the same since. Due to a series of traumatic events involving bullying, my brother was diagnosed with depression which led to schizophrenia and section and we were unaware of the support that was available. Now, at 37 years old, my brother is at home and in a place where my family can take care of him at home, and for that I am truly grateful. His condition is such that he needs 1:1 care and no longer communicates verbally as we do".
Manisha feels very strongly that no child or young person deserves to be bullied or treated unfairly and be made to feel so isolated that they are fearful of speaking out.
Child in Mind offers a collection of activities with supplemented resources on a wide range of pertinent topics such as fear of failure, loss, being a young carer and the psychological impact on those from war-torn countries. The activities challenge us and children to reflect, ask questions, analyse and find solutions through open discussion and collaboration.
Talking openly and honestly with children about mental health issues is a simple and effective way of breaking down any possible associated stigma.
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